Phillips skating icy Wave

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Joe Phillips of Hollister recently returned from a USA Player Development camp in Rochester, N.Y. He will be doing more traveling as a member of the 14-and under California Wave. VICTOR MACCHAROLI/Photographer

Joe Phillips is on the West Coast now, but he used to be on the
East Coast, having been born and raised in Islip, New York. He has
played hockey since the age of four.

All the East Coast hockey players think West Coast hockey
players know how to surf,

said Phillips.

They don’t think we play very good hockey.

Joe Phillips is on the West Coast now, but he used to be on the East Coast, having been born and raised in Islip, New York. He has played hockey since the age of four.

“All the East Coast hockey players think West Coast hockey players know how to surf,” said Phillips.”They don’t think we play very good hockey.”

Phillips can’t surf, but he has been skating on thick ice very well since the age of four. His family moved to Hollister in 1996 and has been riding the hockey wave very well since then. Phillips, who is 14 and is entering Hollister High, worked his way up with the Junior Sharks out of the San Jose Ice Centre and has risen to signing with a Bantam AAA team aptly called the Callifornia Wave. The Wave is a team based out of Los Angeles which has had a great deal of success and has won four straight national titles.

“This is a real good step for Joe,” said his mother, Therese, a teacher at Ladd Lane Elementary School. “This team has played together four years and is high profile.”

Joe, a defenseman, was informed he had the Wave after the first tryout in Anaheim in early July. The first tournament is in Indianpolis in September with many other lengthy trips to follow in points beyond, such as Canada, Phoenix, Utah and Pittsburgh.

“It’s going to be a lot of work,” lamented Therese, who estimates travel, equipment, hotels, expenses, etc. at about $20,000 per year. “Our realistic goal is to hope he can play college somewhere. We’re not thinking about the NHL, yet.”

If Joe keeps going at the rate he’s going, he might just get there. He just returned from the USA Player Development camp in Rochester, New York, which ran July 19-25. He earned the berth through a series of tryouts at NorCal, State and Regional level, where 20 players were selected out of a total of 80.

There, Phillips was mixed in with the top players in the United States for his age, whereupon practice drills and games were staged. Phillips was on the ‘Gray Team’, which was designated by the color of his jersey.

“There were four ice rinks there,” said Phillips. “Rochester isn’t the greatest place in the world. We won about half of our games.”

Phillips, whose favorite player is the New York Rangers defenseman Chris Pronger, described what it takes to be a good defenseman.

“A good defenseman has to keep the puck away from the net, be quick and be physical. You can’t wait for the offensive player to get to you. You have to go out and meet him.”

Phillips, who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 150 pounds, said that the fighting one constantly sees live or on television at the professional level is unavoidable.

“It’s part of the game,” he said. “It’s an intense game. Tempers flare. I like to fight on the ice. I’ve had a few concussions, too.”

Phillips hopes to attend Boston College or Maine University, two good hockey schools. Then he can really show the hockey players on the East Coast that hockey players out West can play hockey, as well as, surf.

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