EDMONTON, AB - Defenceman Phil Kemp joined the Oilers organization when he was selected in the seventh round (208th-overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago. Over the summer, Kemp competed at the World Junior Summer Showcase alongside fellow prospect Kailer Yamamoto. Now, the rearguard is sinking his teeth into NCAA hockey playing for Yale University, where he's already scored his first collegiate goal.
EdmontonOilers.com caught up with Kemp to talk about his experience at the World Junior Summer Showcase, Yale University and more.
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Can you tell me about your experience of being drafted in Chicago?
"I was there, had my name called out and it was an unbelievable experience. Probably the best experience of my life. I couldn't be happier to go to the Oilers. I had my friends there and my family there, too, and It was a special moment for all of us."
What style of game do you play?
"I'd say I'm a defensive defenceman. I like to block shots and kill penalties. I know my role on the team and try to help the team the best I can in whatever I can do so that we can win. I'd say I'm physical, too, and I like to throw my body around. I'm not afraid to go to the gritty areas."
Do you have any hobbies away from the rink?
"I like to golf. I guess I'm also kind of a movie fanatic. I like an assortment of everything: comedy, action, thrillers - you name it. I appreciate a really good film."
"I also like hanging out with the boys on the team, it's always a good time. Especially at college, you're always around each other."
How's the season been so far at Yale?
"It's been awesome and I think it's been going well. I really like the guys on the team and we have an unbelievable coaching staff that is guiding us in the right direction. There's a winning culture here and they expect to win and to consistently compete for championships. It's just awesome to be a part of and a privilege to play for Yale."
How's the adjustment going from the USHL to NCAA hockey?
"It was a smooth transition. Maybe because of the World Under-18 Championships, that and along with the fact that I played a lot of college teams last year as well (as a member of the U.S. National Under-18 Team). So, the transition was smooth."
Who have you been paired with so far?
"I'm playing with Anthony Walsh, a junior. I think we're doing great. I like him as a person and teammate, and he expects a lot. He expects to be dominant out there and I think that's how it should be."
You've already put up a few points this season. Can you describe the first goal you scored and how it felt to get it?
"It was kind of a broken play. One of our forwards took two shots and they were both blocked. The puck came to me at the point and I let a slap shot go through a screen and it found the back of the net. It was awesome and a great experience, but it also tied the game, so it was a big goal for the team. That's all that matters to me."
What celebration did you go with?
"I went with the Tiger fist pump. The Sunday Red Tiger Woods fist pump."
How was the World Junior Summer Showcase?
"It was an awesome experience. Just to be able to play with those guys and put on the USA jersey is always something special. It was great competition and it was also awesome to play with Kailer (Yamamoto). We played together up in Jasper and it was cool to play with him again. He recognized me from the Edmonton camp, so we had common ground to talk about."
How are you approaching the prospect of being on USA's World Junior Team?
"I'm not thinking of that as my priority. I'm worried about the team I'm playing for now and if I play to my best ability, hopefully, that would give me an opportunity to play for the World Juniors. But I want to play my best for the teammates in my room right now."