Live and learn.
It’s about as cliche as it gets, but it couldn’t be any truer for a young NHL defenceman.
If we have learned anything this past year and a half, we have come to expect the unexpected. Ironically the same could be said about life in the NHL.
The grind of any season can take its toll, it can devour the confidence of any veteran or young player, especially defencemen.
One could say live, learn and get better every day has defined Phil Myers path in the game.
It’s hard to believe sometimes that Myers is only 131 games into his National Hockey League career given his range of success and journey to the NHL.
At 24-years-old, the Dieppe, New Brunswick product is clearly coming into his own on and off the ice.
Maturity, experience and adversity continue to shape his path in the game and life.
After what Myers calls a “difficult” or “different” season physically and mentally, the rangy smooth skating rearguard is back on the ice and in the gym at Rick Leger and Derek Cormier’s Pro Evolution Hockey Program.
“It’s awesome,” Myers said of Pro Evolution Hockey.
“It’s a great program, it’s growing every year.”
“We have a great on and off ice program.”
“We even have a concussion prevention program here at PEH,” explained Myers who has trained with the group since it’s inception.
Cormier and Leger are on the cutting edge of development in this region and have helped countless elite up and comers that call the Maritimes home.
“We are really lucky to have this heat in the Moncton and Dieppe, and I feel very fortunate to be able to come home and have the support group and the people that I work with are good people.”
“They are a blast to work with,” Myers said proudly.
Myers commitment and dedication to the program and giving back to all the young elite players in the program is truly remarkable.
Atlantic Canada has produced some amazing players, but recently Myers and Jake Allen have certainly changed the landscape of the game in this province. They have motivated and inspired aspiring players from this area to believe anything is possible in the game, no matter what your area code is.
“I’m a blue collar guy and I think I’ve earned that I’ve got.”
“I try to set that example in the gym and as much as I can on the ice and I take a lot of pride in that,” Myers said when asked about being a role model and what that means to him personally.
“We have some good kids that are working out in the gym with us so it’s a lot fun and we push each other a lot.”
“I think we have a good thing going on here locally.”
One can only imagine how intimated these young players are of the towering NHL defender, but Myers is
always open to talk and lend a helping hand for all the youngsters.
“At first everyone is a little bit shy,” Myers said with a wry smile.
“Obviously, as the summer goes along you get closer with everyone. Being in the trenches every morning from the eight to ten, it provides a lot of bonding time going on there, so it’s a lot of fun.”
Myers work ethic and path to hockey’s highest level to the game is the stuff of legend around these parts.
Myers had a breakthrough season heading into the bubble after the resumption of play in 2019-2020. Everything looked promising for him and a young Flyers team wanting to take their place in the upper echelon of the NHL’s elite.
Saying things didn’t go as planned for Myers and Flyers would be an understatement.
“Yeah this season was definitely different when you’re not winning as much,” confessed Myers.
“Everyone obviously is not in as good of a mood if you’re winning.”
“It was a different year for me, a lot of learning.”
“Mentally it was a grind.”
“I took the time to reset after the season, I took some time with my family and friends to think and reflect on what happened this year and try to grow from it.”
“I think a good way to put it, it was a learning year.”
Myers is no stranger to adversity, he’s faced his fair share throughout his journey, but not leaving up to high expectations or personal expectations as one of best young defenceman in the league can be extremely difficult.
“It’s just good to be back home working with the guys,” Myers said.
“Obviously, you take what you can from it, you can’t dwell on the year too long and go into next year feeling good after a good summer of training and you know have a rebound year.”
“I’m really looking forward to next season and I’m excited to get going.”
Myers is finally feeling good and like himself after a tough stretch of injuries.
“I feel the best I’ve felt in awhile in the gym, so I’m excited.”
“My rib, knee and shoulder are all good and like I said I really took the time to reset after the season taking a good three and a half weeks off and then went right back at it.”
Those on the outside looking in have no idea the toll this past season has taken on players both mentally and physically.
The NHL is grind, but this season was like no other. Playing injured and banged up took on an entirely new meaning in 2020-2021.
“Yeah, it was a condensed season, we were playing like every other night, you don’t want let your teammates down, you want to get out there and help the team win as much as you can.”
“It was definitely a battle this year.”
“You had a lot more alone time this year. You couldn’t do anything outside, you couldn’t leave the hotel or your room unless going to the rink or to eat, it was a grind mentally and physically.”
“Last summer I was rehabbing from my broken knee cap, so I’m excited right now that I feel really good physically, but also mentally,” Myers said.
“I think I’m a lot more relaxed that I was obviously during the year, it was definitely a learning year, I’m going to take what I can and move on.”
“I’m going to be a better person and player next year so it’s going to be good, I’m looking forward to it.”
Contrary to some prognosticators, the Philadelphia Flyers are very close to becoming a contender. The disappointment of this past season will motivate and drive the young core to new levels.
“Personally I think in the bubble we were really close to making a really good run at it.”
“We had a couple of injuries too many, making it to game seven there in the second round, obviously this year was different and really disappointing, but I think if everyone comes in ready to go, I think we could make a good push at it come playoff time.”
“I expect big things from our group this year, we have a lot of young guys which we gain experience as each year goes on, so I’m excited and motivated for this year.”
Phil Myers is coming into his own on and off the ice. The sky is the limit for the Philadelphia Flyers and Philippe Myers.