Matthew Phillips is hoping to take the next step as a hockey player, which for every aspiring athlete must be getting a bobblehead made in their honour.
In a recent interview with NHL.com, Phillips was asked whether he thought it looks like him.
“I don’t,” he confessed. “Maybe the shape of the hair.”
That’s okay, though. Phillips is likely the most talented player to ever wear the Royals jersey at the Save-On Foods Memorial center.
Commemorative 50-Goal Bobbleheads
The bobblehead commemorates his epic 50-goal season last year, which tied him for second in the league. He is the first player ever to score over 50 goals for the Royals.
Such barn-burner seasons come with added expectations but also increased opportunity.
Since being drafted with the 166th pick in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Calgary Flames, Phillips has attended NHL camps and earned an invite to the World Junior Summer Showcase, meaning Hockey Canada has him in their sights for the post-Christmas classic.
“It’s been crazy,” he acknowledges. “About two years ago I was just hoping to make the WHL teams. Things have happened pretty quick.”
Time With Calgary Flames Minor-League Team
Following Victoria’s playoff exit, Phillips was able to gain valuable experience with the Flames’ top minor-league squad, the Stockton Heat. Though he only suited up for three games, he was able to practice with and be around professional hockey players.
“Now I have an understanding about what I can expect in the coming years,” Phillips said. “I understood how I can play my game but still modify it to suit the pro style.”
For the upcoming season, he hopes to improve in the defensive zone and take on more of a leadership role.
“I’ll be one of the older guys on the team which is gonna be weird but a leadership role is something I want to grow into more this year.”
He’ll also have to grow into the role of bobblehead distributor.
“I think I’ve got a box of those bobbleheads waiting for me in Victoria,” he admits. “Family and friends have been asking.”
“Doesn’t happen every day. So I imagine I’ll be keeping a couple.”