The only RoadRunner to ever have his uniform number retired, former captain John Stoddard returns to Topeka to skate in the Second Annual RoadRunner Alumni Game. “Wherever I go in my life, I will ALWAYS be a RoadRunner”, said Stoddard. “I am honored and thrilled that we have this association as a means of keeping us all connected.” He went on to say, “We have always been about family and fighting together as brothers. We want the new guys to understand, and to know their heritage.”
Stoddard began his junior career in 2005 with the Santa Fe franchise. He was named captain in his second season and continued as captain for the teams first year in Topeka. He played in 168 games for the ‘Runners including playoffs, third most in franchise history. His grit and iron will on the ice and selflessness off the ice made him the perfect leader. “Johnny was the obvious choice to be the captain”, said head coach Scott Langer who mentored the La Mesa, CA native for three seasons. “He was the guy who would go through walls and demanded the same from his teammates. He was a player who earned his respect through his actions every single day.”
On the ice, Stoddard put up modest numbers, registering 47 points in his three seasons. His 299 penalty minutes ranks second in team history, and he was a skater opponents always had to be aware of. “Stodds played the game the way it’s meant to be played. Hard and fast, with class and no regrets”, praised his former assistant coach Mark McFarlane. “He’s the ultimate RoadRunner. I’d take 20 Stoddard’s on my roster any day.” His dedication and playing style was recognized by being named the winner of the teams year-end “Heart Award” all three seasons of his career. In fact, beginning in 2009-10, the Heart Award now bears his name: The John Stoddard Heart Award.
Off the ice, he was an amazing ambassador for not just the RoadRunners, but for hockey in general. Never too busy to sign an autograph or spend time chatting with fans, he was an instantly likeable young man who made friends everywhere he went. His dedication to giving back to the community earned him the leagues coveted “Community Service Award” in 2007, handed out during the Champions Banquet.
His #11 hangs from the rafters in Landon Arena paying homage to a player who personified RoadRunner hockey. Stoddard will wear that familar #11 when the Alumni take on this years RoadRunner squad on Sunday September 5 at 12:00 noon. For tickets, visit the Expocentre Box Office or call 785-297-1000.