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Canmore's Philp talks Heat's hot start, resigning with Flames

STOCKTON – Stockton Heat forward and Canmore's Luke Philp's professional career has been on fire lately.

The 26-year-old forward is playing his third year with the Calgary Flames' farm team based out of California, which is currently having one of its best starts ever and he recently signed a new contract with the big league club.

As the Heat click on ice, Philp keeps things in perspective and isn't quick to get distracted by the noise of early season success on and off the ice.

"We can't get satisfied with what we've done so far," said Philp. "We had a good start last year and it slipped away from us pretty quick so we want to like head coach [Mitch Love] has been preaching and keep working to get better, pushing ourselves in practices.

"When you have a good streak like this going, you don’t try to overthink what you've been doing, you just enjoy yourself at the rink and enjoy coming in and working hard every day."

The Heat's new bench boss, Love, praised the special teams and determination of the team.

"It was a busy week for us," said Love. "We just completed three games in four nights, a trip to San Jose Wednesday (Nov. 3) so I was proud of our guys for digging in and finding ways to win those hockey games against two tough opponents."

During the streak, Philp recorded his 50th career AHL point in 85 games with a goal against the San Diego Gulls. Since, he's lit up the lamp twice more and has three goals and four points in eight games.

Now in his third pro season, among peers, Philp's presence is being felt more vocal as he leads by example on the ice, particularly on five-on-five, where he has a plus-five rating and showing grit and intensity on the penalty kill.

At 84.8 per cent efficiency, the Heat have the top PK in the Pacific Division and are ninth best in the league.

"We've done a good job on the PK and that can help gain momentum for your team," Philp said. "I think just being a smart all round player, being solid in your defensive zone. ... The main thing for being a role player is making it hard on the other team to get momentum and get offence going."

He's been exceptional for the Heat organization since arriving in 2019 – from a high-scoring rookie to expanding his game as a second line forward with, notably, locker room leadership.

Hard work, a nose for the net, and a growing game is what earned the scoring threat a one year, two-way deal with the Flames worth $750,000 this past August.

The two-way contract is prorated between salaries of each Flames and Heat rosters, meaning if he played every game with the Flames he'd earn the full amount.

He's happy to return to the Flames organization and signing the two-way contract makes an NHL call up more likely this season for the 2019 U-Sports player of the year with the Alberta Golden Bears.

However, Philp is staying focused on the task at hand: the Heat.

"You don’t really worry about it," said Philp about being called up and making his NHL debut. "Obviously that's your goal and you're trying to get called up to the NHL, but I think you try and put your energy toward the games you have to play down here and the better you do down here it’ll give you a better chance to get called up there, so that’s kind of where my head's at.

"I just want to keep trying to do my part down here to help my team win and when your team does well, individuals do well and you see individuals get chances up with the big club, so that’s what we’re trying to do."

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

Jordan Small joined the Outlook in 2014 and covers the vast world of sports in the Bow Valley. A Barrie, Ont. native, he also wrote for RMO's Mountain Guide section and the MD of Bighorn beat.
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