West’s Sippel grows into his role

West’s Sippel grows into his role
Posted on 12/08/2017
This is the image for the news article titled West’s Sippel grows into his role

Wausau Daily Herald
12/08/2017 - Page B01

West’s Sippel grows into his role

Tim Johnson Wausau Daily Herald
USA TODAY NETWORK – WISCONSIN

WAUSAU – The Wausau West boys hockey team had a significant roster turnover at forward and goalie from last year’s WIAA state semifinal squad.

Given that, the strength of this year’s Warriors squad is the defensive corps with four of the team’s nine seniors at the position.

The group includes Sam Sippel, who is a co-captain along with fellow defenseman Max Techel.

Sippel, a 6-foot-2 defenseman, has grown into a leader for the Warriors, who hold a 2-3 record going into Thursday’s game with D.C. Everest in a Marathon Cup semifinal matchup at Greenheck Field House.

"I think last year he was fighting to get into the lineup for a regular shift and this year I think he understands where he fits a little bit better," West coach Brian Brandt Jr. said. "He has a really good defensive skill set and does a really good job in our D-zone and moves pucks well.

"He is a guy who has a lot of varsity experience and this year he might have a little different role than he has had in years past," Brandt Jr. said. "I think he is starting to embrace what that role looks like. He certainly is someone who can contribute offensively, but we also know that as a team, he needs to be pretty sound defensively along with our entire defensive group."

Sippel, who also was a captain for the West football team and is a member of the Warriors baseball squad, recently sat down with USA TODAY NETWORK- Wisconsin to talk about his most and least memorable sports moments, his pregame superstitions and future plans, among other topics.

Do you have a certain nickname which your teammates, friends or family call you?
I go by "Sip." Just a shorter version of my last name.

What has been the most memorable moment during your sports career?
In hockey, probably being a senior and a captain (this year). I really like having a leadership role with the team and I really like what we have going this year.

What has been your most embarrassing or least memorable sports moment?
Probably scoring on my own net. I’ve done that in big moments in big games (at the youth level) that I really wish didn’t happen.

What do you like about this year’s team?
This group is very young. Last year we had a lot of seniors who graduated and this year a lot of (players) are going to have to step up and be the guy who haven’t been the guy before. I think they are really doing a great job of that so far.

West has played a tough early schedule and the record might not be where you would like it. But do you think the team’s overall game is that far off from where you want it?
I think we have made great improvements from Day 1 to now. I feel we have come a long way and really can do some damage as the season goes along.

You face Everest on Thursday in a Marathon Cup semifinal. What does it mean for West to hold on to that (tournament) championship?
It would mean a whole lot. Everest is our rival and it’s always great to go over there and beat them on their own ice.

What is something people might not know about you?
I’m really into the outdoors. I love hunting, I love fishing. I just love being outside and on the lakes. (The family) has a cabin up north and go there whenever we can just to get away.

Are you a superstitious player? Any rituals you go through before a game?
I always put my right skate on first. I don’t know how it started but I always go with that.

Who is your celebrity crush?
Selena Gomez.                                                              

Where is your dream vacation?
Probably Canada to go fishing.

It’s early but do you have any post graduation plans?
I have been accepted to both (University of Wisconsin) Platteville and (UW) Milwaukee. I want to go for civil engineering.

Sam Sippel is a veteran defenseman and a co-captain for the Wausau West boys hockey team this winter.

ALEXANDRA WIMLEY/USA TODAY NETWORK-WISCONSIN