Sports Spotlight: Bismarck Bobcats’ Linards Lipskis

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 2:11 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - One of the many wonderful things about sports is that they can take you all over the world. One Bismarck Bobcats player moved across the Atlantic Ocean to a place he had never been, all to follow his dreams of going pro. It led to another opportunity to play on the national stage.

Linards Lipskis had never played hockey in the United States before signing with the Bismarck Bobcats.

“I made my parents take me to my first hockey practice. I think I was seven. Yeah, I was seven. I grew up watching to Latvian team that played in the KHL,” said Linards Lipskis.

Lipskis was born and raised in Riga, Latvia, and hockey in North America is a different brand of the game he grew up playing.

“They come over here and it’s a new experience for them. I think that’s the biggest thing, is that it’s an adjustment for them. From day one to where he is now, he’s emerged as our starter,” said Layne Sedevie, Bobcats head coach and general manager.

He’s played in 18 games for the Bobcats this winter, but took some time away during December and into the new year. That’s because he was at the World Junior Championships playing for the Latvian National Team.

“It’s a big honor. It’s always very special to put that shirt on and represent your country. It’s an experience you can’t replace. There’s nothing like it,” said Lipskis.

After years of playing on a world stage, his move to the U.S. didn’t happen because of the Bobcats. It happened because he was offered to play division one hockey at Northern Michigan, which will start after his tenure in Bismarck.

“I liked everything about it. They showed interest and I really appreciated it and thought it was a no-brainer,” said Lipskis.

“It’s one thing to get a commitment, but I think one thing you take a lot of pride in as a coach is having your guys go in and play. For him to get in the net and be a starter, he has to get better and keep progressing in his time in junior hockey,” said Sedevie.

That progression comes with playing the game, and he’s playing the game at a pace he’s never played it at before.

“A lot of games, which means a lot of experience. Before I’ve never played this many games in a season, it’s almost double than what I’m used to, so it’s great for my growth,” said Lipskis.

You can see Lipskis and the Bobcats next in action this weekend when they host Aberdeen at the VFW.