1 on 1 with Markus Phillips
We sat down with Markus Phillips for a candid interview to learn more about his journey from being a Universal Hockey student to becoming our new Director of Player Development and everything in between. Enjoy!
Q: Please share your journey from being a Universal Hockey student to becoming the Director of Player Development. How has your experience shaped your approach to player development?
Markus: Embarking on my journey from youth hockey to the pinnacle of professional hockey, I carry the profound impact of mentors and training on my career. At Universal Hockey, we prioritize not just on-ice skills but also off-ice growth, ensuring that every young athlete can navigate their journey with confidence and resilience.
Q: As the new Director of Player Development, what are your primary goals for enhancing the training and development programs at Universal Hockey?
Markus: As the Director of Player Development at Universal Hockey, my foremost objective is to elevate our training programs. This entails a concentrated focus on refining player skills and adopting a comprehensive approach that addresses the complete well-being of our athletes. The centrepiece of this strategy is our specialized summer camps - the Hybrid Defensemen Development Camp and Skill Acquisition Development Camp. These camps are designed not only to sharpen specific skills but to emphasize both defensive and offensive play. These innovative training programs will be coming this summer, scheduled for July 2024 at Scotiabank Pond in Toronto. My experience as a professional athlete informs a well-balanced approach to training, ensuring that each camp offers personalized coaching. This approach is aimed at developing well-rounded athletes who embody the values and traditions of Universal Hockey.
Q: As a former academy student, what aspects of your training at Universal Hockey do you believe had the most significant impact on your development as a hockey player?
Markus: My formative years at Universal Hockey as a youth player laid a sturdy foundation for the numerous milestones in my career – from being drafted to the NHL to winning an OHL Championship. The emphasis on teamwork, discipline, and high-quality training significantly shaped my journey. Your child can expect to experience a similar commitment to excellence, with a blend of tradition and innovation that sets Universal Hockey apart.
Q: How do you plan to leverage your personal experience as a player to connect with and understand the needs of the current students at Universal Hockey?
Markus: Understanding the unique needs of young players is paramount. I aspire to foster connections with parents and players alike in my role. Sharing insights from my personal journey, I aim to assure families that Universal Hockey is not just an academy but a tight-knit community, developing children's hockey potential with the utmost care and expertise.
Q: Drawing from your personal experiences, what advice would you give aspiring hockey players in the Universal Hockey program?
Markus: To parents of aspiring hockey players, I offer this advice: Encourage your child's passion, nurture a genuine love for the game, and trust in the proven development programs at Universal Hockey. Success is a collaborative effort, and we are here to guide your child through every stage of their journey, providing training and a comprehensive support system.
Q: How do you see the role of mentors and coaches in the holistic development of a young athlete, and how do you plan to facilitate these mentorship opportunities within the Universal Hockey community?
Markus: Acknowledging mentors and coaches' pivotal role in a young athlete's journey, Universal Hockey is committed to facilitating meaningful mentorship opportunities. By connecting your child with experienced professionals who understand the unique challenges of pursuing a hockey career, we ensure that their development is not just about skills but also about character and resilience.
Q: Universal Hockey has a reputation for producing elite athletes. How do you plan to maintain and further elevate the standard of excellence in player development at the academy?
Markus: The tradition of producing elite athletes at Universal Hockey is deeply rooted in our commitment to excellence. As Director of Player Development, I am devoted to maintaining and elevating this standard. This involves integrating innovative training methods, fostering a culture of continuous improvement, and upholding the values that make our academy a premier destination for aspiring hockey players in Toronto. Your journey with us is not just about reaching the top but doing so with a sense of purpose, tradition, and unwavering support.