Undrafted JC Lipon is leading the WHL in scoring (Kelvin Harrison photo)
If JC Lipon keeps scoring at this pace, ambitious hockey parents might start thinking about taking their kids to the lake instead of the rink in the summer.
The Kamloops Blazers right wing, who's gone from list player to leading scorer in the entire Canadian Hockey League, was probably better known for his backstory before breaking out last season. Along with being tied with Portland Winterhawks star Ty Rattie for the WHL's shortest first name, 'Just JC' also spent his adolescence competing across Canada and the U.S. in wakeboarding. So when Lipon, once deemed too small for the Dub, is working the cycle down low to create chances for himself, centre Colin Smith and left wing Tim Bozon, it's a product of summers spent essentially living out at Echo Lake near his hometown of Regina, where he built his strength by standing up on his board while being towed behind a boat.
"The two sports mesh more than anyone would think," says the 19-year-old Lipon, whose 27 points in 11 games are tops in the WHL, followed by Smith's 23. "You don't really use those [core] muscles all the time and it's really good for your balance because you're executing tricks, the type I do is all freestyle and you use the wake of the boat as a ramp to do flips and spins and different variations. I've always had a good centre of gravity and obviously it adds some extra strength for your arms."
There's nothing too tricky about what the so-called Call Upon Line — as in Col-in Smith, JC Lip-on and Tim Boz-on — is providing for the 10-0-0-1 Blazers. Kamloops put them together early last season. The 6-foot, 181-pound Lipon fit in well with Smith's made-in-Alberta tenacity and Bozon's Gallic flair, putting up 65 points after posting just 21 as a 17-year-old. What's happened so far this fall — it's early, mind you — has taken it to another level.
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