Childhood friends Phillips, Weeks reunited with Hawks originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Isaak Phillips was hanging out over the summer when he got a call from Blackhawks developmental goalie coach Peter Aubry.
"He was like: 'Do you know anything about Mitchell Weeks? I was watching him out in the OHL," Phillips recalled. "I'm like: "Yeah, I know a thing or two. He's my best friend." And about an hour later, [Rockford IceHogs president of hockey operations and GM] Mark Bernard called me and he's like: 'We might offer him a contract', and I'm like: 'You should!' It's kind of crazy."
On June 9, the IceHogs officially signed Weeks to a two-year AHL contract that reunited him with his childhood best friend Phillips. The two of them grew up down the street from each other in Barrie, Ontario, and that bond has only gotten stronger over time.
"We're pretty much neighbors," said Weeks, who recorded a 37-save shutout in Sunday's 5-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild at the 2022 Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase. "I walked to his house in like two minutes when we were hanging out. I'd walk there and walk back. It's super close."
"I'm at the top, and then it goes down, there's a set of lights, and then he's just off the corner there," Phillips said. "I'm like a minute walk. I don't even drive to his house."
Despite being neighbors, the first time Phillips and Weeks met wasn't on the block. It was at a rec league hockey game both of their dads were playing in.
"We were really little," Weeks said. "Our parents grew up together, my dad and his dad, so they knew each other. They were at a beer league hockey tournament or something and I remember playing basketball with him. All the kids were hanging around. That's the first time I remember hanging out with him. I've known him forever."
Since then, Phillips and Weeks have been attached at the hip — almost quite literally. They played minor hockey on the same team, both got taken in the midget draft by the Ontario Hockey League's Sudbury Wolves (where they lived together), and now they're playing professional hockey together with the IceHogs.
"It's wild," Weeks said. "I don't know what the odds of that are. Like, playing minor together, we grow up in the same town, that's obvious, but then we both got drafted to Sudbury and then when I signed my contract with Rockford, I said: 'There's no way, I'm just following this guy everywhere.' It's pretty cool."
There's only one thing left to check off the box at this point, and that's play in an NHL game together, ideally with the Blackhawks.
"It's a good opportunity for us," Phillips said. "They're in a rebuild, we're both young guys, he's going to make his way through Rockford and I think we're both trending upwards in our careers, so it's going to be a fun couple years for our families as well."
"I've definitely thought about that," Weeks said. "It would be awesome. Especially like, both our parents would drive down together and go up in the stands. That would be pretty cool to play in an NHL game with him."
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