Some days Jeremey Leipsic must feel like he’s won a lottery. No, not the retire-for-life mega-million dollar one (drats!), but the hockey lottery.
Leipsic is currently enjoying life as a Portage Terrier ─ MJHL champion, playing in the Western Canada Cup; 12-1 run in the MJHL playoffs and regular-season winning streak of 31 games. And now, hoping to earn a berth at the RBC Cup. For a junior hockey player, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Leipsic is living a hockey dream. Leipsic’s lottery win kicked in after he was traded at the deadline from the Powell River Kings to the Terriers. It was win, win and win for the product of the Winnipeg AAA midget Wild.
Win: he joined an MJHL powerhouse.
Win: he was closer to friends and family who live in Winnipeg.
Win: he quickly established himself as a solid, go-to player for the talent-rich Terriers.
“Yeah, the trade really couldn’t have worked out better for me,” he said with a laugh. “I got lucky you might say. After I graduated midget I went out to BC, to give that league a try. I wanted a different experience. When I got traded to Portage I knew they had a good team.”
These days Leipsic is bunked up in Estevan with his pals, competing in the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup. Thanks to a quick 2-0 start, the Terriers have guaranteed themselves one of four playoff spots. Two teams will then move on to next month’s RBC Cup in Lloydminster.
“When you get to this level, the players and teams are very good,” said Leipsic, 18. “The other night we played Estevan Bruins, and everyone knows that crest and jersey. They’ve been around for a very long time. It was a good experience.”
Not so good ─ but definitely a learning experience ─ for Leipsic was a very unusual penalty called on him prior to the drop of the first puck. At high-level events such as the WCC, players are not allowed to touch the red line during pre-game warm-up. This is to prevent any pre-game shenanigans (IE: fighting).
“I guess my skate blade touched the red line,” Leipsic said. “I was trying to grab a puck and I guess I touched the red line. We had been told before the tournament that people would be watching. After the warm-up, someone told Blake (Spiller) that I was given a 10-minute misconduct. And no, I won’t go near the red line anymore.”
While Leipsic might not be the biggest guy on the ice, 5-foot-8, 155-pounds, he plays at a high speed and brings an impressive hockey pedigree. His older brother, Brendan, 21, suited up for a handful of games this past season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. These days the older Leipsic is playing with the American League Toronto Marlies.
While Jeremy is quick to say his brother had an influence on his game, the younger Leipsic credits another person for his hockey success: Teemu Selanne, the Finnish Flash. Winnipeg Jet legend and Stanley Cup winner. And one day, a Hockey Hall of Famer.
“My mother became friends with Teemu’s wife when he was in Winnipeg,” said Leipsic. “Teemu would come over and visit. He’d play road hockey with us. My family has remained good friends with Teemu and his family. He’s a great guy.”
Leipsic is now cutting his own way through the hockey world. And just like one of his hockey heroes, he’s hoping it all ends this spring, lifting a national championship trophy.