At the Whipple household Christmas morning, it is not hard to imagine Andrew Whipple’s role.

He will be passing out the gifts, of course.

That’s just who he is.

“I’m an assist-type guy,” Whipple said.

Whipple was referring to his hockey play. He suits up for the South Portland High team, which now has reinforcements from Freeport High and Waynflete. Whipple, a senior, is one of the area top’s players, and South Portland is a program that has continued, despite occasional struggles to attract players.

It is the type of team that Whipple could dominate on, take the puck and go, show off his individual skills and shoot for the goals.

But that will never happen.

“Very unselfish. Probably the most unselfish player I’ve ever seen,” said South Portland Coach Joe Robinson. “He makes passes to guys where I never would. Especially with his skill set, he would easily take the shot himself.

“He gives it up most of the time. He has great eyes out there.”

Of Whipple’s 50 points last year, 28 were assists.

Whipple will soon be wrapping up a stellar career at South Portland, during which he played midfield for the soccer team and attack for the defending state champion lacrosse team.

The Red Riots contended for a Class A state soccer title this past fall, losing to eventual state champion Cheverus in penalty kicks in the West semifinals.

“Heartbreaking,” Whipple said.

Whipple naturally used his field vision and passing ability in soccer.

In lacrosse, Whipple actually needed to shoot more.

He did, and he scored, including two goals in the Red Riots’ 10-8 win over Brunswick for the Class A state championship last spring.

“Incredible,” Whipple said of the experience.

In hockey, South Portland has not enjoyed the same success, although the Red Riots have been competitive under Robinson, a South Portland alum. The apex came in 2010, when the Red Riots reached the West semifinals.

But numbers were an issue the past two years, with the team competing with eight or nine skaters at the end of the seasons. Whipple learned from that.

“Looking back at my sophomore year, we had only eight skaters,” Whipple said.

“But the upperclassmen were hard workers. They didn’t just give up.”

So while South Portland may not be competing for a state title you won’t see Whipple giving up.

Hockey “is obviously different. But you have to have the same mind-set. The motivation is still there.”

South Portland is 2-3 this season. Whipple centers the top line but, for one recent game against Cheverus, he was moved to defense.

“That was my first time ever playing defense,” Whipple said.

So why make the move?

“We needed a defenseman and Coach chose me,” he said.

That’s Whipple.

“He’s very, very coachable,” Robinson said. “Great kid. Well-mannered. Everything you want in a player.”

South Portland has more skaters than in previous years, with the addition of the Freeport and Waynflete players. That means more players for Whipple to pass to.

“I think that’s what creates team chemistry,” he said.

And getting players involved can only improve the team.

“Absolutely,” Robinson said. “He brings their level of play up. He shows he has confidence in them, which makes their confidence grow. That’s huge.”

Whipple began playing when he was 4, learning from his father, Karl. He’s had influential coaches, listing Casco Bay Hockey Coach Steve Sullivan and Robinson among them. His lacrosse lessons came initially from his older brothers, Mike and Will.

His brothers are both out of college and work in the Boston area. Whipple may be close by next year. He’s hoping to study business in southern New England, with Bentley his top choice.

This Christmas, Will and Mike will come home, joining parents Karl and Amy, Andrew and his two dogs, Oscar (a cocker spaniel) and Lincoln (black lab mix).

Scoring a new special present will be nice, but Andrew Whipple, of course, is thinking of the “team” this Christmas.

“It’s about the family time and the atmosphere,” he said.