CANMORE – A trio of Canmore Eagles alumni look to standout from the crowd at NHL development camps this week.
The Edmonton Oilers are getting eyeballs on a couple of familiar forwards in recent signee Noah Philp, and camp invitee Colton Young. While in California, the San Jose Sharks are testing 2020 draft pick Alex Young.
New and returning prospects are brought into the development camps to learn and participate in medicals, fitness testing, on-ice sessions, and team-building activities.
“It’s exciting for the organization, even if we can just be a small part of their development and their development path,” said Andrew Milne, Canmore Eagles head coach and general manager.
“It shows the guys who are here in the organization now that these opportunities do exist with the right commitment and dedication and sacrifice and the things we preach to our guys on.”
The camps are about five days long, and are a chance for promising young picks and hungry un-drafted players to showcase their skills under the eagle-eye of development coaches.
Both of the Oilers invitees went un-drafted, but developed their games through college and professional levels.
Colton, a former Eagles captain and older brother to Alex, spent three full seasons with the AJHL club from 2016-19. Competitive by nature, the now 23-year-old scored 57 goals and had 157 regular season points during his tenure.
The Calgary-born forward has attended the NCAA’s Colgate University for the past three seasons. He hit his stride this year, scoring 15 goals and 32 points in 38 games and went viral for a beauty goal that was selected as the top play of ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 in January.
“I said it from day one when [Colton] went to college … I would be shocked if he made it through college without some pro interest,” said Milne. “I think he’s going to play out his fourth year [at Colgate], but I wouldn’t be shocked if Edmonton offers him a contract after this camp.”
Philp, who signed a one-year contract with the Oilers for the 2022-23 season, spent the final weeks of the 2021-22 season playing with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors – Edmonton’s farm team.
The 23-year-old righty from Canmore played one season for the hometown Eagles 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 Alberta 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, Philp helped the Golden Bears win the Canada West title.
“I think with Noah, maturity-wise, how he’s grown and the strides he’s made and what he’s gone through have been phenomenal,” said Milne.
Alex, one of the most talented scorers and playmaker's in Eagles history, was selected in the seventh round of the 2020 draft (196th overall) by the Sharks.
In 172 regular season games with the Eagles from 2017-20, the centre scored 91 goals and had 206 points and is second all-time in goals for the Eagles and third all-time in points. He was selected to two south all-league teams.
During his last season in Canmore, the former assistant captain scored 36 goals and 82 points in 53 games. Alex was the fifth highest scorer in the league that season and ninth overall in points. He would go to be an AJHL MVP finalist.
Like his older brother, Alex attends Colgate following his tenure with the Eagles. Last season, he had 10 goals and 31 points in 39 games.
“For him to be drafted and move into the NHL ranks, the skies the limit for a player like him,” said Milne. “The leadership he’s got above him with his brother and the mentorship and the Colgate experience and the drive and the motivation, I think it’s going to be an exciting times ahead for the Young boys.”