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NHL opportunities start with putting in work for new Oilers prospect Philp

“I think it’s all up to me and how I can work through the summer and how I can best prepare myself [and] maybe get a chance there in the future or next couple years or how early that chance comes.”

CANMORE – Before signing with the Edmonton Oilers, several NHL teams kept close tabs on how Canmore prospect Noah Philp was doing.

Standing six-foot-three and weighing 200 pounds, the talented forward has plenty of upside when the puck is bouncing around on his blade.

Reports of four teams closely watched the University of Alberta Golden Bears standout in action at the U Sports University Cup tournament, and he didn't fail to impress – scoring twice and adding a helper in the final game against the UQTR Patriotes.

For un-drafted players like the 23-year-old Philp, the national tournament is somewhat of a showcase – a second chance to really grab the collar of intrigued NHL clubs.

Despite the Golden Bears losing 5-4 in double-overtime in April 3's final, Philp didn't have much time to be bummed out about it when the call of a lifetime came.

“It was a little weird because the whole team was upset about losing that final game, but then, also, that’s right when the signing happened,” Philp said.

The hometown Oilers jumped on the Golden Bears' point-a-game-guy, signing Philp to a one-year contract last week that begins in the 2022-23 season.

For the remainder of the season, Philp joins the California-based Bakersfield Condors, the Oilers' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, on an amateur try-out contract.

“Come next season, I’ll go to Oilers camp and stuff, but I’d imagine I’d be starting in Bakersfield, for sure,” said Philp. “I think it’s all up to me and how I can work through the summer and how I can best prepare myself [and] maybe get a chance there in the future or next couple years or how early that chance comes.”

Philp does not know when he’ll debut for the Condors, but playing for Bakersfield won’t be his first AHL rodeo.

In 2018-19, the forward played twice for the Stockton Heat, the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate, where older brother, Luke, 26, has been a centre for the past three seasons.

Much like his brother, the older Philp signed an entry level deal with the Flames straight from the Golden Bears after the U Sports national tournament in 2019.

The Condors and Heat are headed to the Calder Cup playoffs in May, but before then, the California teams face off twice before season’s end on April 23 and 30.

In the bigger picture, it's possible one day that a Canmore brother versus Canmore brother could be a side story in one of hockey’s greatest rivalries: Calgary and Edmonton’s marquee Battle of Alberta.

“If I happen to get in those [AHL] games, that will be the first time playing against him [Luke], which would be pretty cool. But in terms of ‘Battle of Alberta’, we might need to wait a while on that,” Philp said with a laugh.

Long before NHL scouts were checking out his game, the righty played one season for the hometown Canmore Eagles of the AJHL in 2014-15 before leaving for the WHL's Kootenay Ice and then Seattle Thunderbirds, where he scored 166 points over four seasons.

During Philp's first season with the Golden Bears, he was named to the Canada West All-Rookie team in 2019-20 after recording 27 points in 28 conference games.

In his final season with the Golden Bears, the arts student helped the team win the Canada West title.

After signing with the Oilers, Philp said he will put himself in a position for success for the chance to play in the AHL, and, hopefully, one day, in the NHL.

"It’s kind of just up to the work and the process to do that, and, hopefully, I can get an opportunity,” said Philp.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

An award-winning reporter, Jordan Small has covered sports, the arts, and news in the Bow Valley since 2014. Originally from Barrie, Ont., Jordan has lived in Alberta since 2013.
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