ALLEN, Texas – Today, we catch up with Phil Fox, who had a big impact on and off the ice in the short time he played for the Allen Americans. He was a member of the team that won the 2014 CHL championship. Phil was part of a contingent of players from the Fort Worth Brahmas (John Snowden, Ross Rouleau, Brad Fogal) that signed in Allen for the 2013-14 season after the Brahmas folded.
– Phil had connections to the Allen team because he played junior hockey with Chad Costello and college hockey with Greger Hanson and Kyle Follmer. Fox’s one season in Allen turned out to be injury plagued for Phil with knee surgery keeping him out of the lineup for 10 games at the beginning of the season and a shoulder separation ending his season in March before the start of the playoffs. His stats for the season were 39 games played and 24 points (12G, 12A).
– Here is what I wrote about Phil when he was playing in Allen:
Phil Fox’s story of becoming a professional hockey player is one I have heard many times. From a hockey crazy location (Minnesota), older brother who played hockey, playing hockey outdoor all winter, great high school hockey career (Stillwater Ponies), junior hockey (Des Moines, Fargo, Cedar Rapids), college scholarship at Northern Michigan University (NMU) and a successful college career.
When you sit down and talk to Phil you realize he is a well spoken, driven and passionate professional who is a team player and a leader. Maybe it is his degree (physical education/coaching) or small town upbringing but his presence on this team is much more than what happens on the ice.
Phil was the captain of his high school team and wore a letter on his jersey for three years at NMU including the “C” as a senior. He told me it was quite an honor because it was voted on by teammates and the coaching staff.
– Phil knew from an early age he wanted to be a hockey coach and even playing professional hockey was a means to an end. He is a close friend of Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Phil Housley, currently the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres. Fox worked at Housley’s hockey camps for many years starting when he was in high school. Here is another excerpt from my interview with Phil back in 2013:
Who Would You Pick As A Mentor: Phil Housley. I would like to coach hockey as soon as I am done playing. Being able to help Phil with hockey camps has truly been a blessing. He is someone who I look up to a lot and he has taught me so much over the years of working with him. I am happy to be given the chance to spend time with him and see how he goes about coaching.
– Phil knew his playing days were numbered after the shoulder separation that ended his 2013-14 season. He got a call from his college coach asking about his interest in returning to NMU as the Director of Hockey Operations. He applied for the job and was selected. That was the start of his journey in hockey after his pro career ended.
– Here is the only video I could find from Phil’s playing days in Allen. It is a fighting video which is strange because Phil had only two fights in a three year pro career. This fight was against Ian Schultz who was playing for the Arizona Sundogs at the time and would sign with Allen the next season. Schultz was a fighter with over 100 fights to his credit. Phil got a five minute fighting major but the referee was being generous since Phil never dropped his gloves, a smart move going against Schultz.
Here is Phil’s update in his own words:
TSB: Can you give us an update on your family?
FOX: I just got married on August 18 and my wife’s name is Ricci. We are expecting our first child in June. We have been living for the past two years in Albuquerque, NM. We have a dog named Oscar. He is a miniature dachshund.
TSB: What involvement do you have in hockey?
FOX: I am very involved in hockey right now. I am currently the Vice President of the New Mexico Ice Wolves Hockey Association and Director of Hockey for the Outpost Ice Arena in Albuquerque. I am the head coach of our Bantam A travel team and the Bantam B travel team. I am heavily involved with all other levels of travel hockey. As director of hockey for the rinks, I develop and run all types of skill clinics. I brought down former Allen Americans player, Kyle Follmer, as my assistant director of hockey. He is head coaching the peewee A travel team and also assisting on all other levels.
TSB: What are your hobbies/interests now that you no longer play professional hockey?
FOX: I try and get out and golf as much as I can, which hasn’t been as much as I like.
TSB: Can you share something about your experience playing in Allen?
FOX: My experience in Allen was great minus all of the injuries I incurred. I was very blessed to be part of a championship which was definitely a highlight. The best part was the teammates I had. You can never replace the bond you have with them. It is a bond where you can pick up right where you left off.
Did You Know?
Hockey is a small world. Phil Fox played junior hockey in 2003-04 for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. He was 18 at the time. Two of his teammates on that team were 17-year-old Chad Costello and 18-year-old Adam Miller, who now plays in Allen.