If ever there was a success story to be told, then one wouldn’t have to look any farther than that of Dave Tippett.
Born in Moosomin, Sask. on August 25, 1961, Dave spent his early years in that community and in Regina before moving to Prince Albert in 1972. Once he arrived in Prince Albert, the world was his stage – literally.
An exceptional all-around athlete, Dave first tasted success in 1974 when he won a provincial soccer skills championship. That led to a national skills title which then saw him participate at the world competition in Paris, France, where he placed eighth. In the game following the skills championship at the world event, Dave was named the most valuable player.
His talents in soccer helped him win provincial championships in high school and at the under-18 level. He was part of the Sask. Select soccer program and also attended a national youth camp in Victoria.
With all that success in soccer, one would find it hard to believe that he would do even more in another sport, but Dave did – in hockey.
Dave was team captain of all of his minor hockey teams and in 1976 led the Prince Albert Bantam Raiders to a provincial championship. At 17 years of age, Dave played Junior B hockey in Melfort and was rookie-of-the-year. The following season, he was the most valuable player of the Junior B Jaks in Prince Albert before being brought up to the Junior A Raiders for their run for a second Centennial Cup championship in three years. Dave remained with the Raiders for two more years where he led the team in scoring and helped the club reach the national championship in each of those seasons. With two national championships and a national runner-up record behind him, Dave moved on to college hockey where he played for the North Dakota Fighting Sioux for two years. Again he tasted success as he was part of the NCAA championship team in 1981-82 and was co-captain of the club in his final season.
For the 1983-84 campaign, Dave lived a dream that few can say they experienced as he was the captain of Canada’s national team which competed at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Although the club narrowly missed bringing home a bronze medal, Dave received three special honors. The first was from his coach Dave King who said he was the most coachable player he ever worked with. The second was when he was named Prince Albert’s Athlete of the Year and the third was when he was signed to a professional contract with the Hartford Whalers.
Dave played six years with the Whalers and had one stretch where he suited up for 419 consecutive games. A defensive specialist in the NHL, Dave won numerous team awards including Unsung Hero and Mr. Hustle in addition to several community service awards.
Dave was traded to the Washington Capitals in 1990 and while with that club he was loaned to Canada’s national club for the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. This time around, Dave fulfilled the dream as Canada brought home a silver medal.
Dave played the 1992-93 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins and concluded his NHL career the following year with the Philadelphia Flyers. During the NHL players’ strike in 1994, Dave went to the International Hockey League’s Houston Aeros where he was player / assistant coach. He retired from playing after that season, but remained as an assistant coach before being promoted to the head coaching position on Jan. 1, 1996. The director of hockey operations was later added to his portfolio as a new career continues to provide success for Dave Tippett.
It is with extreme pleasure that the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame acknowledge Dave for his accomplishments by inducting him into the shrine in the athlete category.
Inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.