|Photo: Rob Wallator|
“I am the Captain now!”
That’s not quite how Luke Philp reacted when Brent Sutter told him he was the new captain of the Red Deer Rebels. But the five year WHL veteran was pretty thrilled to get the nod.
“Obviously, it’s very exciting. It’s a huge honour and it’s really humbling because there’s lots of good leaders on this team.”
While it raised the eyebrows of more than a few fans, the move to name Philp captain should not have come as a total shocker.
It by no means is a slight to the other Rebels players, including those who have been with the club for three, four or even five seasons. It by all means is a reflection of what the Rebels think of Philp as a leader.
Associate Coach Jeff Truitt says the 20-year-old forward has the experience needed to lead the Rebels on their journey to the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup.
“Kootenay, the last couple of years, they’ve always gotten better after Christmas. They’ve always stretched things out in the playoffs and battled teams hard in the post-season. He’s gone through those wars of maybe not playing well off the start but then playing real well to bring your game up to another level,” Truitt said prior to Rebels practice at the Kinex Arena Monday afternoon.
“With him in there and being a voice with all lot of other good leaders, our group gets bigger and better.”
You can’t argue the immediate impact Philp has had since finally suiting up for the Rebels after being acquired at the trade deadline. The Canmore native has four goals and six points in six games since missing about three months with a lower body injury.
“The guys have been good, it’s been easy to fit in with this group. I feel better each game out there and am gaining lots of confidence.”
Now that the team has put and end to its lengthy losing skid that reached five games, Philp is confident the Rebels can get it together and finish strong heading into playoffs.
“We’ve just got to go out there and perform the way we can and things will be good.”