Philp to make NHL debut
When it comes to the many words describing Luke Philp as a hockey player, “patience” and “poise” are right near the top – both of which have dominated a long hockey career and have finally landed him in the National Hockey League.
At the age of 27, Philp makes his NHL debut Tuesday (Jan. 24, 2023) for the Chicago Blackhawks when they take on the Vancouver Canucks in the West Coast city.
Philp’s career path to the NHL is well earned. His journey began in his hometown of Canmore, Alta., where he grew up playing minor hockey and starred for the community’s Alberta Junior Hockey League team in the 2011-12 season joining the team at the age of 15.
Size is not Philp’s largest attribute at only 5-foot-10 but his ability to not get flustered in any situation became instantly noticeable when after turning 16 he moved up to major junior hockey with the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice. Over the next five seasons and 247 games, Philp amassed 95 goals and 235 points.
The young man’s leadership qualities were being well documented throughout his time in major junior and when Red Deer was setting up to host the Memorial Cup in 2016, Rebels head coach Brent Sutter used a mid-season trade to bring Philp to his team to captain the squad in its quest for the national title.
Despite individual successes at the junior level, Philp went undrafted and unsigned. Instead, the then 20-year-old took the next step on a circuitous route to the NHL by starring with the University of Alberta Golden Bears for three years – being named the USPORTS player of the year in 2019.
Time spent in Canadian university hockey was rewarded when the Calgary Flames signed the then 22-year-old to a professional deal on March 19, 2019 and join the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League where he would post respectable if not remarkable numbers: 48 goals and 44 assists for 89 points over 132 games.
After three seasons with the Heat, the Chicago Blackhawks came seeking Philp in July 2022 as they looked to retool their minor league affiliate Rockford IceHogs. In acquiring Philp, the NHL team noted the then 26-year-old’s leadership qualities would prove to his being a strong mentor for the team’s newest generation of talent.
Philp’s time in Rockford though has proved more enlightening for the Chicago organization then it envisioned. On Monday (Jan. 23), the Blackhawks promoted Philp – who has 14 goals and 30 points in 31 games with the IceHogs – to the NHL team.
How long Philp stays with Chicago is uncertain at this point, but like the journey already taken you can expect he will greet every day with the patience and poise that has graced his hockey playing career to date.