Time sure flies by.
It seems just like yesterday that alumnus Michael Zipp was pulling on the Calgary Hitmen jersey for the first time.
The former Hitmen captain and recent grad embarked on the next stage of his life this past year, attending Acadia University.
“I headed east and fell in love with it the moment I stepped foot there,” Zipp said. “I knew it was the right choice for me, it was something new but has definitely worked out for the best.”
“It’s the best of both worlds to get an education and make the most out of a scholarship and also still get to play the game you love. I spent five amazing years in the Dub and I’m happy to continue to keep playing to this day.”
In his first year of post-secondary hockey, Zipp suited up in 30 games ending the regular season with eight points (3G, 8A) and also appeared in 10 playoff tilts, chipping in with an assist.
It was an easy choice for the 21-year-old to take full advantage of the WHL Scholarship offered to players after their major junior career is over and purse career goals.
“They set a path for us to be successful and it’s up to us to take that opportunity and it’s too good of an opportunity to pass up,” he said. “It’s nice to go to school and not have to worry about being in debt after it’s all said and done.”
“University is definitely a big jump up but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and have been putting in the work to be successful.”
Although it’s only been a year since his time in the ‘Dub, Zipp admits to feeling nostalgic whenever he’s reminded of his time with the Hitmen.
Over the course of four years with the Hitmen, Zipp made a lot of close friends that he has still been able to keep in touch with despite how busy or crazy life may get.
“In hockey you build such solid bonds,” he said. “The beautiful thing about technology now is that you never lose those bonds. I keep in touch with guys like Harmsworth, Petterson, Stukel, Gennaro and Bean to name a few. A lot of those guys are good buddies and there’s so many more built from bus trips and in the locker room when you are together.”
“I miss my time in Calgary and miss my time in junior hockey.”
On top of staying connected with his former teammates, the Edmonton native has also made it a priority to check in with his billet family.
“I think my billet mom would be pretty proud of me to see the cook that I’ve become,” he laughed. “I couldn’t live off just KD and fast food. I think I learned a lot from her and she got me prepared for what to expect when you are living on your own.”
“I’m always keeping tabs on them and vice versa. That just shows how you build a great bond with your billets through your time in junior hockey. They are my second family and I always have a place to stay with them when I’m in Calgary.”