Immersed in the CHL, Phillips choose NCAA
Ethan Phillips has spent much of his life immersed in the culture of Canadian major junior hockey. His family served as billets for two players of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads - 2017 NHL first overall draft pick Nico Hischier of the New Jersey Devils and 2018 Detroit Red Wings sixth overall choice Filip Zadina.
Phillips attended the NHL entry draft both years to see his friends go in the first round. This year, he was back at the draft and the 5-foot-9, 146-pound forward was selected 97th overall by the Wings.
He and Zadina are rooming together during the club’s current development camp.
“It’s been pretty nice just hanging out with him, seeing him again,” Phillips said. “I hadn’t seen him in about a year, since last year’s draft. It was pretty cool.
“Right after I got picked I went up to the suite and (Red Wings executive assistant and immigration manager) Kim Brodie told me Filip had called and asked if we could room together. So that was pretty cool.”
Even though he was immersed in the CHL culture - Phillips even attended the Mooseheads training camp one season - but he chose to take a completely different route.
He played prep hockey at Selects Academy at South Kent School in Connecticut and finished last season in the USHL with Sioux Falls.
Phillips will enroll at Boston University in the fall.
“It was definitely a tough decision,” Phillips admitted. “I know Cam Russell, the GM of Halifax, pretty well. I just figured for me in the end that college was going to be the best route for me.
“You never really know until it’s over. I tried to gather as much information as I could and it seemed like college was the better route for me to take.”
Zadina tested out his hamstring Thursday, taking a brief turn on the ice. Even though he’s not been playing, Detroit’s top 2018 pick has made an impressive on Phillips with his dedication to his craft.
“You kind of just watch the way that he takes care of himself,” Phillips said. “He’s got the hamstring tightness, so every night he’s rubbing cream on it, he’s stretching it. He’s done everything he can to make it better.
“You just kind of pick up on things like that to see that it really is a job and he’s doing what he can to get back and help the team.”
An inflamed knee is keeping defenseman Alec Regula off the ice. He suffered the injury late in the season while doing and off-ice workout in Grand Rapids.
“I was working out with, just getting a little bit of pain in my left knee, so I went to see the doctor,” Regula explained. “It just hasn’t really healed as quickly as I wanted.”
X-rays were taken and Regula underwent an MRI. The tests displayed no structural issues, yet the inflammation persists. The decision was made to err on the side of caution.
“Being as young as I am, I have to put my body first,” Regula said. “You don’t want something like this to leak into the season or any farther than it is. We all kind of agreed that staying off the ice is best for me, just for my body.
“The first priority is to be 100 percent healthy before I get back out there.
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