This month’s Alumni Spotlight features Stephen Zipp, formerly of the CAC Canadians.
EDMONTON – After falling in love with the game at a young age, Stephen Zipp grew up playing his minor hockey in Edmonton with the Whitemud West Hockey Association, and was the first person in his family to play hockey.
“My mom was a professional golfer and my dad was a football player,” Stephen said. “Both my parents dedicated so much to my brother, sister and I to allow us to play and have success in the game we love.”
The forward then went on to play U15 AAA, U16 AAA and U18 AAA with the CAC Canadians from 2007-2011, and then was selected in the second round, 33rd overall by the Dawson Creek Rage in the 2011 North American Hockey League Draft.
After a season with the Rage in 2011-2012, Stephen went on to a four-year post-secondary career with the Grant MacEwan University Griffins. After graduating, he didn’t stray too far from the game, coaching with the Griffins, University of Alberta Golden Bears, and Swift Current Broncos.
Currently a teacher at St. Francis Xavier High School in Edmonton, Stephen is still involved in the game as an Alberta Scout with the Kamloops Blazers, and works as a skills coach in the Edmonton area.
“Hockey has provided me with several coaching, scouting and skill development opportunities,” he said. “I feel that it provided me with the necessary tools to have success not only at the higher levels of hockey, but also in life after hockey. Skills such as communication, leadership, time management, work ethic and competitiveness are qualities that I can directly relate back to my experiences playing minor hockey.”
Stephen said hockey also provided him with some incredible experience, especially during his days playing minor hockey in Edmonton.
“My favorite memory would for sure be my second year Peewee playing for the Edmonton Junior Oilers and attending the Quebec International Pee Wee Tournament in Quebec City,” he said. “Playing alongside and against some amazing players in front of 15, 000 people, provided me with memories that I will never forget. I would also have to add all the early morning winter practices that were followed by team breakfasts at Hap’s Hungry House in Edmonton.”
Although hockey was his main focus, Stephen said he still grew up as a multi-sport athlete, something he believes was crucial to his development.
“Growing up I played high level soccer, baseball, and a ton of golf,” he said. “All of these really developed me into an all-around athlete, and that definitely helped my career on the ice. It is something that I really recommend to young athletes going forward.”
Stephen also has one more bit of advice for young, aspiring athletes across the province.
“Be the best teammate and person you can be,” he said. “Enjoy every minute spent on the ice and in the dressing room with your teammates. It’s an incredible game that will teach you so much and will develop you into an amazing person!”