‘RUNNERS VETERAN LIPSBERGS DRAFTED TO KHL
After plans to attend St. Norbert College in Wisconsin fell through, two year RoadRunner veteran forward Edgars Lipsbergs was selected in the third round of the KHL Entry Draft by Dinamo Riga.
The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is a relatively new league, entering its third season of existence, and consisting of 24 teams, most of them in the Russian Federation. The teams compete for the Gagarin Cup, named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Though still in relative infancy, the KHL is already ranked as the strongest hockey league in Europe.
Edgars Lipsbergs is a native of Riga, Latvia, and played two years for the Latvia U18 team before coming to the United States in 2007 where he skated for the Texas Attack Midget Majors. It was there he was noticed by RoadRunner scouts and invited to try out for the team. Lipsbergs would play two full seasons in Topeka, leaving briefly in early 2009 to join Team Latvia in the World Junior Championships, played that year in Ottawa, Ontario. As he adjusted to the North American style of play, his point production grew. He totaled 22 goals and 34 assists in his two seasons with the RoadRunners, displaying a flair for the dramatic as he twice scored game winning goals in overtime. He added another 5 goals and 4 assists in postseason play.
Being selected in the KHL draft came as a surprise. \”After playing last 4 years overseas I thought everybody had forgotten about me and how I play\”, Lipsbergs said. \”So I was really shocked when it happened.\” Being drafted into whats considered the second highest league in the world is a great honor, but to be selected by his hometown team is a dream come true. Asked if he\’d ever thought about it, he smiled and said, \”Well, yes I often just imagined how it would be to play in front of my friends and family again and to play in front of my home crowd. But it was only like \’what if\’.\” Now that he has been drafted, he faces the challenge of making the roster. He plans on showing up prepared. \”I know what I need to do and I will try to be in the best shape and I will just do the best I can.\”
Coming shortly on the heels of the disappointing news of not being able to attend St. Norbert College where he wanted to go and was coveted by the coaching staff, the news of the draft selection reinforced his positive outlook. \”I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason. I try to keep everything positive, and keep my mind open.\” Lipsbergs has already returned to Latvia.
Dinamo Riga plays in the 10,300 seat Arena Riga. The team is captained by 7-time NHL All-Star and Stanley Cup winner Sandis Ozolinsh. Other Dinamo players include NHL veterans Marcel Hossa, Martin Prusek and Tyler Arnason.