Congratulations to former Eagle (and Canmore local) Luke Philp and the entire Philp family for Luke’s signing with the Calgary Flames! From Canmore Minor Hockey, to the Eagles, to the WHL, to the Golden Bears, and now the Flames – what a journey! The Canmore Eagles Organization wishes the best of luck and success to Luke!
Rocky Mountain Outlook Story:
Photo credit: RMO FILE PHOTO
Canmore’s Philp signs with Calgary Flames
‘It all happened pretty fast’
BY JORDAN SMALL MAR 20, 2019
CANMORE – It’s been a crazy week for Canmore’s Luke Philp, the newest member of the Calgary Flames.
The NHL club announced on Tuesday (March 19) they signed the 23-year-old free agent to a two-year entry-level contract, which begins in 2019-20.
“It’s been pretty overwhelming the last few days,” said Philp to the Outlook. “I grew up watching the Flames and it seemed like all my friends and family did too, everyone’s a Flames fan. It definitely makes it a little more special.”
The wild week for the University of Alberta Golden Bears star forward started with a national award, a championship game, an unfortunate injury, and it ended with a NHL contract.
Growing up in Canmore, the little mountain town about 90 kilometres west of Calgary, Philp wouldn’t have imagined being in this position at the beginning of the season.
“I wouldn’t have believed it,” he said. “Not many players have signed many NHL contracts from U-Sports, but as the season went on it seemed more and more realistic as I continued to have a better year; it’s cool to happen.”
Philp, a former Canmore Eagle, was awarded the Senator Joseph A. Sullivan Trophy for being the 2019 U-Sports player of the year.
Philp scored 21 goals and had 45 points in 24 games for the Golden Bears in 2018-19 and is the first Canada West player since 2010-11 to have consecutive 40-point seasons.
Things got a little rocky when an ankle sprain forced Philp out of the Sunday’s (March 17) U-Sport’s men’s hockey national championship game, mid-way through the first.
The U-Sports player of the year did not return and the Golden Bears lost 4-2 to the University of New Brunswick Reds.
Ian Herbers, Golden Bears head coach, called it a “bad injury” in an email to the Outlook and wrote Philp had “spent most of his time at doctors and hospitals” in the days following.
“It swelled up pretty good,” said Philp.
Scouts had been closely watching Philp, as top undrafted college players finish school and are eligible to be signed by NHL teams looking to strengthen rosters.
The injury put things up in the air – if only just momentarily.
“I was talking to my agent, and the next day we were coordinating with [the Flames],” said Philp. “The X-ray results came back and then [the Flames]were OK with the injury, it wasn’t too long and I’d still be able to rehab. It all happened pretty fast.”
Philp expects to be at the Flames’ summer training camp.
“I want to recover as fast as I can and go all in with it and commit and hopefully improve,” he said.
Canmore’s Luke Philp at an early age in a Calgary Flames jersey. The 23-year-old signed with the NHL franchise on Tuesday (March 19).
Signing with the Flames is all the more special for Philp’s friends and family, too.
“We have a large family here (in Canmore),” said Lisa de Soto, Philp’s mother. “All have been really supportive of him. My husband and I said, it’s Calgary, too, it’s so close to us – it’s a higher level excitement because so many friends and family in town are Flames fans.”
She added a busload of family and friends would head to Calgary should Philp get ice time at the Saddledome.
Listed as five-foot-10 and 185 pounds, the righty has worked hard to get to this point.
Mental toughness is of Philp’s biggest assets, said de Soto.
“He always been a very high level player at every stage,” de Soto said. “He didn’t get a contract at the end of his WHL career, and we supported him with his decision to attend U of A.
“There’s many different roads to the same destination … There’s been highs and lows and disappointments and Luke has gotten through that, excelled and worked harder on not giving up on that dream.”
Stylistically, Herbers compared Philp’s playing style to Calgary Flames centre and former U of A player, Derek Ryan.
“They have the same work ethic, passion and attitude to push himself and is never satisfied with himself,” Herbers said.
Herbers praised Philp’s work ethic, commitment and passion to the game, and said even after winning the scoring title, Philp’s “wanted to elevate his game even further.”
“His past two years with the Golden Bears has been nothing but upside,” he said. “He missed four regular season games (this season) and wasn’t completely healthy with the injury – a punctured lung, but for the whole season, day in and day out, he comes to the rink to get better and does the same with academics.”