Wednesday, October 16, 2013

20 Questions With Phil Fox - An Introduction

Phil Fox

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 (Northern Michigan University),  and a successful college career including team captain as a senior.

When you sit down and talk to him you realize he is a well spoken, driven and passionate professional who is a team player. 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. 

His home town, Stillwater, Minnesota, is a unique community. While it is in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area it is on the very edge and sits on the St. Croix River. On the other side of the river is Wisconsin. It is one of Minnesota's oldest towns (1854) settled because of the river traffic and timber in the area. Stillwater is a popular day trip for tourists from the Twin Cities, who enjoy the historic downtown's used bookstores, antique shops, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, historical sites and the scenic St. Croix River valley. Its history and natural beauty is also attractive to Hollywood as the following films were filmed partly or entirely in Stillwater.
Phil is part of the contingent ( John Snowden,  Ross Rouleau, & Brad Fogal) that signed with Allen this year after the Ft. Worth Brahmas team folded at the end of last season. Phil is starting his third professional season having spent the last two years in Ft. Worth. He had 77 points (40 goals & 37 assists) in 103 games with the Brahmas.

Here are the details:

Phil Fox

Forward -- shoots R
Born -- Stillwater, MN
[28 yrs. ago]
Height 5.11 -- Weight 205

Phil is the youngest of three children. His mom (Lynn) and dad (Tim) are his biggest fans.

Your Hockey Number: While I have worn #7 the last two years I wore #11 growing up and in college. My older brother was #11 and he was my best friend so I wanted #11. So when #7 wasn't available in Allen #11 was the logical choice.

Nickname: Foxy

Hockey Hero: Mike Modano was my favorite player growing up as he was a Minnesota North Star. I collected a lot of his memorabilia as a kid. I also liked Brett Hull for his goal scoring abilty.

Your Style Of Play:  I'm not the fastest guy or the best skater but I am aggressive, I forecheck hard and I can get my self in position to get goals.

Age you started Skating:  5 or 6

Earliest Hockey Memory: Probably my dad taking my brother and me to the outdoor rink down the street from our house. I also remember my very first hockey team when I was a mite my coach wanted to have the team name be the Smurfs. He told us kids you can call me Papa Smurf. I remember going home and telling my dad, do you believe the coach wants us to be the Smurfs. Luckily, the coach agreed to change our name to the Penguins.

Favorite Actor: Bradley Cooper

Favorite Actress: Gwyneth Paltrow 

Favorite Type of Music: I have a varied taste in music and will listen to everything from rap to country to classical.

Current Favorite Singer or Group: I just downloaded a new album from The Piano Guys. It has dueling pianos, cellos and violins. They do the songs of today but it is all instrumental. I love that kind of music.

Something People Would Be Surprised To Learn About you:  I am CPR certified. I am also a foodie and appreciate good food. I like going to new restaurants and trying something different.

What Chore Do You Hate To Do: Any type of cleaning.

Something That Is Great Value To You But Little Value To Others: My dog, a Yorkshire Terrier, whose name is Pearl. I got the dog with my girlfriend at the time and we raised Pearl together. The dog stays with her during the hockey season but Pearl stays with me in the summer. It is kind of embarrassing but I love that dog so much on Saturday when my buddies are going out I will say I am going to stay home with Pearl. Obviously, they give me a hard time about Pearl.
Phil's #1 girl, Pearl

Who Do You Admire As A Leader: Walt Kyle, my college coach. He was a guy who as a player was not the most skilled but had the heart of a bulldog. He had testicular and lung cancer and continued to coach through that battle and has been the head coach at Northern Michigan for twelve years. I was thinking about starting my coaching career right after I graduated and had an excellent opportunity but coach Kyle told me he regretted not going pro when he had a chance. He told me to go and play pro and get that out of me and there will always be a coaching opportunity. I have learned a lot about coaching and life from Coach Kyle.

Most Interesting Place You Have Every Visited: Finland. I went to the World Championships which was held in Helsinki in 2012. Phil Housley was being inducted into the International Hockey Hall of Fame. He became the coach at my high school a couple of years after I graduated and I help out at the hockey camp the former NHL star has every year. I was also dating his daughter at the time.

If You Could Live In Another Country For Two Years Where Would it Be:  Sweden

If You Could Be Anything But A Pro Athlete What Would It Be: A hockey coach

Any Pregame Rituals Or Superstitions: I would call it more if a routine but I always get to the rink very early (three hours before game time), I immediately drink three cups of water, then hop on the bike, do my stretch and tape my sticks,  I can then relax and focus on the game. I do play soccer with the guys because everything else is done.

Who Is The Funniest Guy On The Team: Berube & Lukin make me laugh.

What Do You Like To Do To Kill Time On The Bus: Watch movies.

Favorite Childhood Toy: My bike.

Favorite Motto Or Saying: You miss 100% of the shots you don't take and if something isn't working, work harder.

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.

Favorite TV Show:  The King of Queens

What Do You Like To Do Away From The Rink: Primarily I like to play golf but I enjoy all sports so I play softball in the summer, I will shoot hoops, play ping pong and enjoy the gym. Ross Rouleau and I played a lot of tennis last year.

What was Your One Game Call Up To The AHL (Houston Aeros) Last Year Like: It was quite an experience. The game was in Oklahoma City (OKC). I found out at about 2:00 pm that they wanted me in OKC for the game that evening. I had to go to the rink to load up all my stuff and then hopped in a van to start driving myself to OKC. It took 40 minutes just to get to Denton in the traffic. By the time I got to OKC I had 12 minutes to get ready before warm ups. I was running from the parking garage, signing papers as I was getting to the locker room. The coaches were giving me the system as I was getting dressed. Obviously I missed my routine like the bike and stretching. Despite of all of that it was a great experience. You always wish you would have played better but I played okay. I had a shot on goal and took a penalty.

Allen fans are going to really enjoy Phil Fox this year. A tough, hardworking, aggressive player on the ice and a introspective likeable guy off the ice.

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