Former NHL Blue McRae to Lead TPH-St. Louis
TPH is pleased to welcome Philip McRae to the position of Director of Hockey-Operations for its St. Louis division. McRae, a Chesterfield, MO native and Wildwood, MO resident with deep ties to the St. Louis hockey community, joins the TPH team after completing a 10-year professional playing career that included over 500 games played in the AHL as well as across three of Europe’s top professional leagues. In addition, during the 2010-2011 season, Philip appeared in 15 National Hockey League games for his hometown St. Louis Blues. He was selected 33rd overall by the Blues in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
“Philip McRae is the absolute right fit to lead us in St. Louis, specifically in overseeing our Center of Excellence model,” TPH CEO Nathan Bowen said. “Philip’s passion for player development, his understanding of the link between academic and athletic performance, his personal vision for building our St. Louis CoE the right way and his knowledge of how the St. Louis hockey market works stuck out to our hiring team every step of the way throughout the very extensive interview process we ran. His eagerness to be the local face of our CoE model was evident from the onset. Philip is someone whose resume, communication skills and leadership style will not just aid TPH in making the greatest possible positive impact on our student-athletes, but also in using the CoE model to do for St. Louis what we have envisioned all along: help local hockey programs recruit players from across the Heartland and provide a carrot for local hockey programs to retain its best players year in and year out.”
Staying on the topic of resume, perhaps some of McRae’s most impressive accolades came before he turned pro. During the 2004-2005 season, McRae captured a Tier I USA Hockey National Championship as a member of the 15U St. Louis ‘AAA’ Blues. That same year, McRae was part of a Mid-States High School Hockey championship squad at Christian Brothers College High School. His youth experiences helped pave the way for a very successful junior career that began during the 2005-2006 campaign, as an underage player with the US National Team Development Program. The following season, McRae embarked on a four-year journey with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. The Knights, a program with a reputation for producing world-class NHL talent, drafted him in the first round of the 2006 OHL Priority Selection. During McRae’s four seasons in the OHL, he served as captain, was twice selected to the OHL all-star game and represented his country in three world championships, with the Under 17 and Under 18’s, as well as with an Under 20 Team USA squad that captured a Gold Medal in 2010.
While playing experience is certainly a criterion when choosing a TPH Director, Bowen is quick to point out that it is the experiences Philip gained while playing, not just his deep playing experience by itself that contributed to the decision to tap the 30 year old to lead TPH in its newest market.
“It is one thing to play the game of hockey at a high level, but it’s another to be around winning people and winning programs, which is exactly what Philip has experienced,” Bowen added. “He is a serial winner who knows what a championship culture looks like. Philip will be able to use his experiences around championship teams to show our student-athletes how to be successful on the ice, and more importantly, how to take the very same attributes that make a player successful on a 200 x 85 ice sheet and become a winning student in the classroom, a winning athlete in the gym and a winning human being in the ultimate game, which we all know is the game of life.”
While certainly proud of his playing resume and grateful for the lifelong memories and friendships built throughout his career, McRae, whose wife Shannon is expecting their first child in August, says he is ready for the next step of his journey and is eager to use the CoE as a mechanism to help strengthen hockey in a market he grew up playing in and calls home, while of course, bettering TPH student-athletes on and off the ice.
“I am honored, overly excited and energized to take on the role of Director of Hockey-Operations at the Total Package Hockey Center of Excellence at the world class Centene Community Ice Center,” McRae said. “My passion and goals have changed from developing my own game, to developing, mentoring and guiding the up and coming aspiring elite players from my hometown. I am committed to making a positive impact on the lives of student-athletes from the ‘Heartland of Hockey,’ while growing the game in the area and helping develop the next generation.”
Prospective TPH-St. Louis Center of Excellence families are invited to meet Philip virtually during a hybrid meet & greet / open house event, scheduled for Wednesday, April 22 at 7:00 PM CST via Zoom. A link to RSVP is down below. In addition, families are welcome to e-mail Philip directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.