CALIFORNIA – Those with siblings know that between them there’s an unwritten competitiveness for most things in life.
Growing up a Philp, it was in sports.
Summertime in Canmore, recalls Stockton Heat centre Luke Philp, was for sports and the early battles between him and his athletic brothers Noah and Simon that brought the best out of each other competitively.
But as fierce as duelling siblings coming of age can be, playing hockey was a completely different vibe for them. Until recently, the brothers hadn't gone head-to-head for 200 feet and always been on the same side.
“I’ve played with Noah before in junior and then I’ve played with my other brother, Simon, [in the WHL], and then Noah actually played with Simon as well at one point in junior, so we’ve all played with each other at some point, which is pretty cool,” said Luke.
“But playing against [Noah] was definitely different.”
This past weekend saw the first of what could be many divisional battles between Luke, playing for the Calgary Flames affiliate, and Noah, a freshly signed winger to the Bakersfield Condors, the Edmonton Oilers affiliate.
Although, there were no chirps. No brotherly taunts at the game. Only admiration that two kids from Canmore are playing pro.
“I’m really happy for [Noah] and really proud of him and the work he’s put in this year and earning himself a contract with Edmonton,” said Luke. “It was a cool experience to see him on the other side. It was something new, but I think we both enjoyed it.”
Noah made his Condors debut April 22 in a 5-1 victory over the Tucson Roadrunners. The 23-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Oilers earlier this month and joined the Condors on an amateur try-out contract for the remainder of the season.
Luke, a third-year player, has 21 goals and 44 points in 65 games this season with Stockton. He’s tied for fourth best plus/minus in the league at 25.
Seeing each other in different sweaters isn’t something they’re used to yet.
“We grew up together and played all sorts of sports teams against each other, but in terms of on the ice, playing hockey, that was about the only time I’ve ever played against him competitively, so I enjoyed it,” said Noah.
The Condors defeated the Heat, 4-0, on Saturday (April 23) at Mechanics Banks Arena in Bakersfield, California, giving Noah the early 1-0 edge over this older brother.
The Philp brothers will see each other one more time before playoffs start in a season-ending finale on Saturday night (April 30) in Bakersfield.
“It was cool to see it on the biggest stage for us playing pro hockey against each other. It was an experience I’ll never forget,” said Luke.
“He’s up 1-0 now. I think there will definitely be competition moving forward with that.
“If we match up against them in the playoffs at some point then the games will really matter and that will be, whoever wins that will have the ultimate bragging rights."
Despite the regular season loss, the Heat made franchise history Saturday evening by clinching the Pacific division, its first-ever division championship.
After the Colorado Eagles defeated the Ontario Reign, there aren’t enough games remaining in the regular season for any team to catch the first-place Heat.
Stockton is rewarded with a first-round bye in the Calder Cup playoffs, which start in May.
The No. 5 Condors take on the No. 4 ranked Eagles in a best of three.
There’s a chance the Heat could match up against the Condors in the 2021-22 playoffs if the fifth-place Condors is the lowest ranked team to advance to the second round.
Well, we know which brother has the better taste in fashion, at least. pic.twitter.com/XrdtcKLH3P— y - Stockton Heat (@AHLHeat) April 24, 2022