The Belfast Giants are proud to announce that young Team GB star, David Phillips has signed for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks’ top affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. Davy was to return to Belfast for a second successive season after cementing his place on the Giants’ roster in what was a highly successful 2008-09 season for the 21 year old, but after impressing at an evaluation camp in Chicago last week, he was offered a two way contract by the IceHogs of the AHL with the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators.
Belfast Giants 21 year old defenseman Davy Phillips attended an evaluation camp in Chicago with one of the most famous teams in ice hockey history, the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks invited Phillips to attend their summer prospects camp last week along with other unsigned free agents and minor league players.
Phillips, who moved to the Giants from the Hull Stingrays a year ago, never expected to get an invitation like that, but after a stellar year under the guidance of Coach Steve Thornton and a solid performance for Team Great Britain at the World Championships in April, he managed to raise a few eyebrows around the hockey world.
“We are all so proud of how Davy represented himself, the Giants and UK Ice Hockey at the evaluation camp in Chicago.” said Kelman. “Sure, we are disappointed at losing a player of Phillips’ calibre but the Rockford contract offers a fantastic opportunity for Davy and I hope he can grab it with both hands. He’ll be a hard guy to replace”
Coach Thornton on Phillips, “First of all, I have to say how pleased I am for Davy, he’s a great guy both on and off the ice and he fully deserves the contract with Rockford. Davy makes a tremendous D man, he’s tall, has a great hockey body and has potential in abundance. It speaks volumes for the guy that it’s the AHL team who he’s contracted to and I hope he can prove himself at that level, it’s fantastic that a young British player can move on to the AHL.”
“I want to let the loyal Giants’ fans know that I have been actively searching for Davy’s replacement and phone calls are being made,” said Thornton.
Phillips was over the moon to get the call from the Blackhawks’ organization. “I’m really excited about this and I think it is a great opportunity. I never even dreamed of ever getting to skate with prospects from an NHL team in front of their scouts and management and now I’ll have the chance to play week in, week out with them. I’m gutted that I won’t be playing in Belfast next season and I want to thank everyone involved with the Giants organisation for making last season so special, it is a fantastic organisation to play for and the support of the Giants’ fans is amazing and has left me with some great memories.”