-

-

Philp a proven leader

It wasn’t imperative that Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter appoint a new captain after dealing Wyatt Johnson to the Spokane Chiefs on New Years Day. With a team loaded with experience and talent, the belief was that there was more than enough leadership already on board. But when centre Luke Philp returned from a nearly three-month layoff two weeks ago, it soon became apparent that he was the man to wear the ‘C’.

It wasn’t imperative that Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter appoint a new captain after dealing Wyatt Johnson to the Spokane Chiefs on New Years Day.

With a team loaded with experience and talent, the belief was that there was more than enough leadership already on board. But when centre Luke Philp returned from a nearly three-month layoff two weeks ago, it soon became apparent that he was the man to wear the ‘C’.

“He’s a proven leader, a guy who’s a proven player at playoff time,” Sutter said Thursday. “I think it was an important step for us and it was pretty unanimous among the coaches and everyone on the hockey operations side who needed to be our captain moving forward.”

Philp was the Kootenay Ice captain this season before sustaining an ankle injury that required surgery in late November. Acquired from the Ice Jan. 3, he finally made his Rebels debut Feb. 12 in a 4-1 loss at Calgary.

“It felt really good to be back. You get pretty frustrated being out for as long as I was,” said Philp. “It was really good to get into the lineup. It takes a couple of games to get back to game speed, but I’m feeling really good now.”

The 20-year-old Canmore native, who put up 29 points, including 13 goals, in 22 games with the Ice this season and has recorded four goals and two assists in six outings with the Rebels, had barely been cleared to practice when he got into his first game with the Rebels.

“He’s a player who does the right things. He’s going to play hard every shift and again, the bigger the game the better he plays,” said Sutter. “Just look at our (recent) road trip. For a guy who hadn’t played in a long time, a guy who had hardly practised with us at all … to come in and play like he has, that speaks for itself and a lot of it is based on just his character.

“The day before he played his first game with us he’d only had one practice and after practice he came into the coaches room and asked me what my plan was for him. I told him what it was — to basically to get through a couple of more practices and then we’d play him.

“He just basically flat out told us, ‘put me in the friggin lineup’. That just speaks about his character. I thought about it through the night and the next day I called him at one o’clock and told him I was going to play him.”

So far, so good. Philp has already exhibited his two-way skills and is skating on the Rebels’ top line with Adam Helewka and Jake DeBrusk.

While he was somewhat taken aback at Sutter’s decision to name him as the club’s new official on-ice leader, Philp wasn’t shocked that he was given the appointment.

“Maybe a little bit, but Brent had meetings with me and told me he brought me in to take a leadership role with this team,” said Philp. “I was a little surprised, but at the same time I knew it was a possibility.”

It’s a role he’s gladly taken on and one that he is confident he won’t handle alone.

“There’s a lot of really good leaders on this team so I know I wouldn’t be doing it by myself, that’s for sure,” he said.

The Rebels snapped a five-game losing streak with last Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars in the final leg of a four-game B.C. Division road trip.

Philp, who served as an assistant captain with the Ice each of the previous two seasons, is confident that the hard-fought victory can be a springboard to future success.

“We took a lot of positives out of the Prince George series,” he said, referring also to a 3-1 loss last Friday. “We played hard both games. That was a good series and we were glad to get the win in that last game. It got us out of the slump and now we have to build off that and keep moving forward.”

Philp sees plenty of potential for the 2016 Memorial Cup host Rebels — who officially clinched a playoff berth this week — to finish off the regular season on a positive note and go deep into the post-season.

“There’s tons (of potential) here, the sky is the limit,” he said. “This group has a lot of talent, we just need to put it all together and find ways to play a full 60 minutes and I think we’ll be fine.”

Sutter is confident Philp is the right man to lead his squad down the regular-season homestretch and beyond.

“It’s just his makeup, it’s the way he is,” said the Rebels boss. “He’s a player who is very well respected inside our (dressing) room. He’s not a player who talks a lot but when he speaks it’s about the team. It’s not about individual stuff, it’s about team stuff.”

• The Rebels open a weekend homestand tonight against the Portland Winterhawks. The Victoria Royals visit the Centrium Saturday.

Rebels

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

Head coach Jason Chatwood, left, sports one of the Sylvan Lake Gulls’ first on-field hats next to Aqil Samuel, general manager and president of baseball operations, earlier this year.
Sylvan Lake Gulls ticket sales off to flying start

With the inaugural season quickly closing in, the Sylvan Lake Gulls hit… Continue reading

Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s chief medical health officer publicly criticizes staffer who leaked info

EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, dealing with rocketing COVID-19… Continue reading

The RCMP major crimes unit is investigating after a person was found dead at a residence on Stewart Street in Red Deer’s Sunnybrook neighbourhood Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Red Deer RCMP investigating suspicious death in Sunnybrook

A ‘deceased adult’ was found by officers

A detail from Canyon Light, an oil painting by Joan Clement, in the Scale exhibit by members of the Red Deer Art Club. It’s showing at the Viewpoint Gallery in the city’s Culture Services Centre. (Contributed image).
Outdoor art gallery and scavenger hunt is on in Red Deer next month

But First Friday receptions and patio concerts are postponed

Mahomes vs. Brady spices up Thanksgiving holiday week

Mahomes vs. Brady spices up Thanksgiving holiday week

Cowboys miss chance for NFC East lead with another home loss

Cowboys miss chance for NFC East lead with another home loss

Arsenal, Leicester, Hoffenheim advance in Europa League

Arsenal, Leicester, Hoffenheim advance in Europa League

Keegan Messing performs during the Men's Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won't be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canada might not compete at world figure skating championships – if they happen

Canada might not compete at world figure skating championships - if they happen

A piece of hockey history is up for sale, with a rare Vancouver Millionaires sweater, seen in an undated handout photo, hitting the auction block. The cream and maroon wool cardigan is believed to have belonged to Hall of Fame goalie Hugh Lehman, who backstopped the Millionaires to a Pacific Coast Hockey Association championship in 1922-23. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Lelands Auction, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Hockey history up for sale as 97-year-old Vancouver Millionaires sweater hits auction

Hockey history up for sale as 97-year-old Vancouver Millionaires sweater hits auction

Canada’s Nembhard scores 11 points off the bench in Gonzaga debut

Canada’s Nembhard scores 11 points off the bench in Gonzaga debut

Mighty Heart is breezed by exercise rider Des McMahon, at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Woodbine Entertainment says it has officially cancelled the rest of its thoroughbred racing season following discussions with the Ontario government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Woodbine Racetrack ends horse racing season after talks with provincial government

Woodbine Racetrack ends horse racing season after talks with provincial government

As Alberta’s COVID-19 cases rise, so does tension over world junior championship

As Alberta’s COVID-19 cases rise, so does tension over world junior championship

Most Read