He was a force on the Ottawa Senators’ blue line for 18 seasons. But after missing the entirety of the 2015-16 season as a result of a back injury, defenseman Chris Phillips officially announced his retirement.
Phillips’ family and doctors played a role in the decision, but in the end he made the choice that best suited his situation.
Phillips, who was drafted first overall in 1996 by the Senators, was the purest example of a stay-at-home defenseman who exhibited leadership and played an honest brand of hockey.
“He’s been a leader in our dressing room, a leader in our community and he’s had a great career,” said Sens general manager Pierre Dorion. “He represents loyalty and what it means to be an Ottawa Senator.”
That’s why Phillips will be remaining a part of the franchise, according to Ian McLaren at theScore.com.
“The Senators concurrently announced Phillips will remain with the organization in a front office position. He will continue to engage with the Ottawa-Gatineau community while being involved in community programs, alumni relations, and business development,” writes McLaren.
Phillips spent all 18 seasons with the Senators. He played 1,179 regular season games with Ottawa scoring 71 goals and 288 points. He also notched 114 career playoff games – scoring 15 points (6g-9a) over that span.
He sits first on the Senators all-time list in regular season games played (with one more than Daniel Alfredsson), seventh all-time in assists and second all-time in penalty minutes.
While his absence will leave a big hole on the Senators blue line moving forward, his presence in the team’s management office will help to maintain his leadership within the team.