The Victoria Royals defence just got a boost of confidence with the newest addition to the team, Justin Kipkie.
Kipkie signed a WHL Standard Player Agreement earlier this week after joining the Royals rookie and main camps, where he got the opportunity to experience life as a member of the team.
“I’m super excited about signing”, Kipkie said. “Attending my first rookie and main camp helped me see that Victoria was a great organization. All the coaches, scouts, players and staff have been super friendly and helpful. It was such a great experience.”
The 6’2, 185 lb defenceman from Calgary, AB, caught the attention of Royals scouts ahead of the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft where he was selected in the sixth round with the 126th pick due to his understanding of his position and his intelligent play. Prior to joining the Royals, Kipkie spent the last two season with Edge School of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) where in the 2019-20, he led the team in scoring by a defenceman with 8 goals and 17 assists in 30 games played.
“Justin is a cerebral player who reads the ice well. He has strong offensive instincts, and he works hard every day to be an athletic and well-rounded player,” GM and Head Coach Dan Price said. “His passing accuracy is outstanding, and he uses his range and mobility effectively on the defensive side of the puck. His level of preparation, maturity and humility are impressive.”
That hard work and maturity Price is referring to is evident through his off-season preparation.
“I’ve been working hard on and off the ice this offseason,” Kipkie said. “Off the ice, my trainer and I focused on improving my foot speed and cardio. On the ice, I continued to work at my skating and have been trying to improve my deceptive moves at the offensive blue line.”
Despite working hard every day, Kipkie also understands the importance of rest and time off when he has the opportunity.
“I was able to spend some time away at our cabin in Northern Ontario with my family where I was able to relax before the season started,” said Kipkie of his summer. “I shot hoops, played baseball and hung out with friends and family whenever I could.”
Now that the season is about to start, Kipkie is excited to get to join the team in Kelowna for their preseason game and get the ball rolling.
“I’m really looking forward to getting to know all the players and coaches better. I think there’s a great opportunity to learn from all of them. I’m hoping to continue developing my game with the organization and contribute in any way I can,” the 16-year-old said.
Those feelings are echoed in Victoria by the staff and Price.
“Justin fits our culture in Victoria,” added Price. “We’re excited to work with him on achieving our collective team goals and his personal development goals.”