Calgary, Alta – Edmonton Oil Kings forward Jalen Luypen is the CSSHL Alumni Spotlight for the month of October. Luypen, an alumnus of the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, BC, played both bantam and midget prep at OHA before making the jump to the Western Hockey League. Starting the 2016-17 season with the Bantam Varsity program, Luypen recorded a pair of goals and a pair of assists in three games before being called up to the Bantam Prep team where he spent the remainder of the season. A product of Kelowna, BC, Luypen tallied 21 goals and added 17 assists in 30 games with the OHA Bantam Prep team in his WHL draft-eligible year. At the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, Luypen was selected in the 9th round, 180th overall by the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Luypen’s performance at the Oil Kings rookie camp in 2017 earned himself an invitation to main camp before being reassigned to the OHA Midget Prep team. With his first taste of the Western League now in his rear-view, Luypen settled back in with OHA and had an impressive 2017-18 campaign, recording a point-per-game (18G-18A) in 36 games played. Craig Bedard, OHA Midget Prep Coach, spoke highly of Luypen’s work ethic and commitment to getting better, saying “the OHA mimics the grind of the Western Hockey League and Jalen bought in to what we were trying to do as a group, developing hardworking habits that he brought each and every day.” Luypen’s development with OHA helped prepare Luypen for his second training camp with the Oil Kings in 2018, his first year of junior eligibility. A strong camp performance secured a roster spot for the 16-year-old Luypen and saw him appear in 47 games for the Oil Kings, registering six goals and seven assists for 13 points. His first career WHL goal came on November 3rd, 2018 in a 4-3 OT loss to the Swift Current Broncos.
Luypen’s hockey roots run deep as his grandfather, Roy Sakaki, popularly known as Mr. Hockey in Salmon Arm, BC, has been involved in the game for decades. Sakaki currently works as the Administrator for the Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association, helping kids and families get involved in the game and grow the hockey community in the city. Sakaki’s dedication and passion for the game recently earned him national recognition as he was named a Hockey Canada Ambassador.
Luypen’s character does not stray far from his grandfather’s and was made evident when he launched his ‘Shave Your Lid for a Kid’ initiative in support of Kids Cancer Care, an Alberta-based charitable organization helping families battling childhood cancer. When asked about his off-ice character, Edmonton Oil Kings General Manager, Kirt Hill, said that “Jalen is always someone who always puts his hand up to do extra and is a community ambassador for the team.” Luypen’s motivation and inspiration for the cause stemmed from his Aunt Aidan, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Luypen pledged to chop off his hair, coined ‘Luypen’s Locks’, if the campaign met a fundraising goal of $2323, a number paying homage to his jersey number, 23. Support for the cause grew quickly and donations surpassed Luypen’s expectations, totalling more than double the initial target. On September 18th, Luypen had his head shaved by fellow teammates, and staff at Tommy Gun’s Barbershop, and donated an impressive $5450 to Kids Cancer Care.
Luypen returned to Edmonton for his sophomore season with the Oil Kings, who have started the season with a league leading 12-1-3 record and are in action Tuesday night at home against the Prince Albert Raiders.