PHOTO CREDIT: Morgan De Korte
While the Wenatchee Wild have accepted the reality that there will be no hockey in the Wenatchee Valley this season, the focus has shifted to preparations for the 2021-22 season. The team is pleased to announce forward Jaden Lipinski has signed his New Recruit form for the upcoming year. He’s playing this season with the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes U16 AAA after spending several weeks in Wenatchee prior to the cancellation of the season.
Lipinski is a 6’2” 185 lb. forward from Scottsdale, AZ. While some may not see Arizona as a hockey mecca, Lipinski sees it differently. “I think that hockey in Arizona is making big strides in their development programs compared to other parts of the country. We don’t have as many ice rinks and facilities available compared to places like Minnesota and Michigan, but I think it’s remarkable to see how big the game is getting down here. I believe that hockey is going to continue to grow in the coming years.” Arizona is one of the four states considered Wenatchee “territory” for recruiting.
The experience of training in Wenatchee left a positive impression. “I think that the community and the facilities were amazing. It was everything I could have asked for and I am excited to spend my first year of junior hockey there.” He eagerly embraced the challenge as he looked to adjust from the 15U AAA level to Tier II Junior A. “The practices were fun and intense. You can tell the coaches want to win. The players are a lot older and stronger, so I had to utilize my strengths as a player and make quicker decisions. I think the coaching staff did an amazing job and really helped my development during that time.”
From a player’s perspective, Lipinski was impressed by the staff overall. “The coaching staff and the trainers were awesome”, he remarked. “They did everything they could to help us. Our trainers Matt (Delisi) and Pepe (Sandoval) were always willing to help and made sure everything was perfect with our equipment.” Asked what he’s most looking forward to when he joins the Wild, he says, “I’m most looking forward to the fans. It’s going to be really fun to be able to play in front of them and interact with them.”
Wenatchee Wild GM Bliss Littler says, “In the seven weeks Jaden spent with us this fall he showed us his competitive drive and his ability to score at this level. In his time with the Phoenix junior Coyotes U16 AAA team, he has turned into one of the elite players in the Tier One Elite League. We look forward to having Jaden here with us for the next couple of years.”
Lipinski has been a fan of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes for as long as he can remember, and he aspires to reach that pinnacle. “My ultimate goal is to play in the NHL. I will do anything to get there, and it’s been my dream since I was 5 years old.” Longer range goals involve remaining around the game, either in coaching or managing.
He’s got the right mindset to be successful as he advances in his career. While he doesn’t claim any particular superstitions as most players do, he admits, “I just take great pride in preparation for games and practices. I want to always be eating the proper foods and taking care of my body.”
Wenatchee Wild Head Coach Chris Clark is excited to welcome Lipinski to the program. “Jaden is a player we have watched closely for several years and we saw how much he improved in our seven-week extended training camp. Jaden has a very bright future, and we are excited to be a part of it.” Associate Head Coach Leigh Mendelson feels the same. “We’ve had a chance to follow Jaden over the past few Tier 1 League seasons and have been impressed with his development and growth both on the ice and off. Having him here this fall allowed us to see his competitiveness and work ethic up close, which sealed the deal. We feel he will develop into a highly sought-after recruit in the NCAA while he develops further in the BCHL.”
Away from the rink, Lipinski likes to explore another of his talents, in music. “I’ve been playing guitar for 5 years and drums for about 6 years. I play a lot when I’m away from the game and helps me relieve stress.”