Owen Tippett entered NHL draft day not knowing where he would end up. He left Chicago with one big smile on his face after being taken 10th overall by the Florida Panthers – a dream come true for the highest Peterborough native to be selected in the NHL Entry Draft.
“I took a minute to kind of sit back and realize what I’ve kind of gone through and how much hard work I’ve put into it,” said Tippett, who was one of 15 GTHL grads selected at the 2017 NHL Draft. “To hear your name being called just leaves you speechless, you don’t really know what to say. At the end of the day when it all sinks in, it’s an unforgettable moment for sure.”
At age 11, Tippett made the tough decision to move from Peterborough to Toronto to enhance his hockey career. It during his first year with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens where Tippett met coach Dan Sullivan – a former professional player who spent most his career in the ECHL.
“I was only 11-years-old and I basically moved my life down to Toronto,” Tippett said. “He [Sullivan] was the first one to come up to me and my family -me and my Mom especially – saying if I ever needed anything he was there for me.”
After some successful seasons for the Jr. Canadiens, the trust between Sullivan and Tippett carried over into Minor Midget with the “AAA” Toronto Red Wings. During Tippet’s time with the Red Wings, he established himself as a top OHL prospect, eventually being picked 4th overall by the Mississauga Steelheads in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection. Although Sullivan and Tippett don’t share the ice anymore, Tippett still takes the time to reach out to his mentor.
“He may not be my coach anymore, but he is still someone I look up to and talk to every once in a while just to see how things are going. We know that if we ever needed anything we’re both there for each other. It’s something that we built a relationship over the past that I don’t think many people realize what we have.”
With Panthers development camp behind him, Tippett now embarks on a new journey of trying to crack an NHL lineup. He looks to use the tools he’s learned to create the next chapter of his hockey career.