The third inductee into the Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame is Ottawa Senator's Chris Phillips.
Born March 9, 1978, Phillips advanced from playing with the hometown Fort McMurray Oil Barons to become one of the best defense man in the Western Hockey League with the Prince Albert Raiders (1995-97) along with a brief stint with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
He was voted the WHL’s Rookie of the Year in 1995-96 and finished the following season as a member of the Memorial Cup All-Star Team.A two-time gold medal winner with Canada’s World Junior team, Phillips was selected first overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.In 1997-98, he made his NHL debut and played 72 games with five goals and 11 assists.In the playoffs, he helped the team reach the second round.In 1998-99 Phillipss was limited to just 34 games, but still tallied six points, 53 hits and 28 blocked shots as the team won the Northeast Division title. In 1999-2000, he played 65 games and collected 19 points, 143 hits and 50 blocked shots. In 2000-01, Phillips led the Senators to the Northeast Division title with a club record of 48 wins and 109 points. Phillips tallied 14 points and 136 hits in 73 games.
In 2001-02, Phillips scored 22 points and tallied 137 hits in 63 games. The Senators, meanwhile, fell 15 points in the standings and finished third in the Northeast Division. In the playoffs, Phillips played 12 games as the team reached the second round before losing to the Maple Leafs.
In 2002-03, Phillips scored 19 points in 78 games as the Senators bounced back 19 points in the standings to win the Presidents’ Trophy. They also set a club record with 52 wins and won their third Northeast Division title in five years. In the playoffs, Phillips scored six points in 18 games as the team reached the Eastern Conference final before losing in a seventh game to the Devils. In game six of the Eastern Conference final, Phillips scored the overtime game-winning goal.
In 2003-04, Phillips played in all 82 games as the Senators finished sixth overall in the league standings. Phillips scored a career-high seven goals and 23 points. In the playoffs, the Senators lost their opening round match up against the Maple Leafs.
In 2004-2005, during the strike season, he played for Brynas IF Gavel.
He served as team captain for eight games this season when Daniel Alfresson was injured. Phillips also had a career highs with eight goals and 26 points he was also tied for second on the team for average ice time (22.21). He recently re-signed with the Senators for a four year contract for $14 million.
To date he has played in 618 regular season NHL games while scoring 40 times and adding 124 assists.
Aside from his World Junior experience, Phillips represented his homeland at the 2000 and 2005 World Championships.
- WJC-A All-Star Team (1997)
- WHL Rookie of the Year (1996)
- WHL East First All-Star Team (1997)
- Canadian Major Junior First All-Star Team (1997)
- Memorial Cup Tournament All-Star Team (1997)
Missed majority of 1998-99 season recovering from ankle injury suffered in game vs. Buffalo, December 30, 1998. Signed as a free agent by Gavle (Sweden)
Quotes from Ottawa Senators players on Chris Phillips and is induction into the Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame
“He came in as more of an offensive player and what he’s turned out to be is a real solid defensive player. He’s our leader defensively and he’s taken over bringing along the younger guys.”
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson
“I like playing with Philly; he’s a good defensive player. He has shown me how to get better and how to play in different situations. He’s a good leader.” Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov
“He’s a huge part of our team and he’s a real contributor to the city of Ottawa. He’s just as good of a guy off the ice as he is on the ice. He cares a lot about his teammates and helps them as much as possible. I don’t think there’s a bad thing you can say about him.”
Senators forward Mike Fisher
“He’s been a real leader, a real character guy on our team. I’ve been good buddies with him since he came here when I was in my second year. I stood up as one of his groomsmen in his wedding and I’m proud to be one of his teammates for some years now.”
Senators alternate captain Wade Redden
“You know he will always be there. He’s the type of guy I would call Steady Eddy. He might get overlooked at times, but he’s one of the key cogs on this team.”
Senators defenceman Tom Preissing
“He’s an honest, hard-working and capable defenceman. I think he’s that type of person off the ice, too, a good character guy.”