|Matthew Phillips aka "Bubba|
“My mom let me stay home from school…and when my name came up for Victoria, I was shocked at first and once It sunk in it’s an honour.” said Phillips about getting drafted as I caught up with him after his first game at Royals Rookie Camp Thursday.
He’s 5’6 and 130 lbs with the Royals opting for skill over size, something which he displayed that morning for Team Steingard at Rookie Camp. Phillips got past the defense and cut infront of the netminder. He was tripped and sent flying in the air, all the while tucking the puck behind the goalie.
He stayed humble while describing the goal,
“I thought I had the defenseman wide and I had no choice but to fall over myself and tucked it in…I guess.”
The 15 year old Phillips had 40 goals and 77 points with the Calgary Bisons last season.
Being a smaller guy Phillips looks to use his strengths to his advantage,
“I’m a two way forward and I like to use my speed to my advantage. Chances are I’m not going bull someone over but I like to win battles…”
He does have a physical side that comes through motivation,
“Some of it is just my compete level – I just want to get the puck whenever I can…”
Grant Armstrong, the Royals Director of Player Personnel knows Phillips can take of himself, noting his play after the second day of Rookie Camp games.
“He’s be outstanding, everything bounces off of him he’s just an electrifying little player…it’s fun to watch.”
Phillips’ has unique nickname…‘Bubba,’
“Back in Novice, there was 3 Matthew’s on the team and our coach just wanted a way to tell us apart…he tried 5 names a day until that one just stayed with me.”
Is Bubba what his parents call him too?
“When they’re mad I get Matthew…” he said with a grin.
While he was impressed with playing in the SOFMC facility, he was really wowed by the team bus which has been custom outfitted to sleep 30.
“Wow, I could live on that thing, let alone do road trips…”
It’s not Phillips first trip to the Island however, as he has family that lives in the Capital City and has done various tours including the Parlaiment building.
“It’s an unbelievable city, they’re a great team that’s getting better over the last few years…it’s real exciting to be here.”
Since he’s just 15 and in Victoria to show the Royals his stuff for next year, he’s trying out for Calgary Midget Triple A Buffaloes for this Midget season.
Rookie Camp concludes Sunday at the SOFMC.