Pheonix Copley’s Million Dollar Contract: A Testament to Determination
Written by : Tomas Morgan
Hailing from the small town of North Pole, Alaska, Pheonix Copley’s journey to the
National Hockey League (NHL) is nothing short of remarkable. Born on January 28,
1992, in a place known more for its frigid temperatures than its hockey tradition,
Copley's passion for the game burned brighter than the Northern Lights.
But how does one become a hockey player in the North Pole? Copley’s story begins
with a childhood dream fueled by the support of his brother. Hockey was no mere
pastime; it was a way of life. In a region where the sport was embraced by a tight-knit
community, Copley had the opportunity to develop his skills. This came with a lot of
travel. His community only had two to three teams so in order to play more opponents
Copley would travel up to six hours to Anchorage where two to three more teams were
His fascination with the goaltending position went beyond the desire to be a target for
his brother’s shots or play local games in Alaska. He started to participate in
tournaments throughout the United States and aspired to play junior hockey, then
college and ultimately reach the professional ranks.
Copley’s first venture beyond youth hockey came when he suited up for the Tri-City
Storm in the USHL. He played for two years in the USHL before going to play for
Michigan Tech in the WCHA. There he met Steve Shields, the first goalie coach who
would have a major impact on his career. He praises Shields for all he taught him in his
two years at Michigan and is also thankful for his fellow goalie partner, who motivated
him to get better every day.
After two seasons with Michigan Tech, Copley was offered a contract with the
Washington Capitals of the NHL. He debated whether or not he should stay at Michigan
and finish his degree or go fulfil his dream and go pro. He decided that he had to seize
the opportunity, so he signed the contract and did not look back.
Although, before getting to the NHL, Pheonix had some setbacks at the AHL level. After
a double overtime game in the playoffs in which he lost 18 pounds, Copley was fatigued
and dehydrated. No matter how much water and Gatorade he drank he did not feel
100%. The dehydration led to a torn muscle in the second round of that same playoff
run and during his recovery, he realized that he needed to fix his dieting habits.
Copley realized that water and Gatorade are not great for high-performance athletes
who need to stay hydrated. He found that smoothies and tea worked best for keeping
him hydrated and in game shape. This led to the creation of the first tea made for
athletes: Athletes Apothecary (Use the code "AP15" for 15% off)! He saw a product that had not yet been made and took the opportunity to create one that would not only benefit him but also so many other athletes who struggle with hydration and are looking to recover faster.
After figuring out his dieting habits and how to stay hydrated Copley started to feel and
play better. This past season (2022-23) Copley made his mark on the LA Kings season
playing in 37 games and finishing with a record of 24-6-3, earning him a one-year 1.5
million dollar contract for the upcoming 2023-24 season.
We are looking forward to seeing Copley prove himself as an NHL-worthy goaltender
this coming season and beyond. To learn more about Copley and his journey to the
NHL listen to The Athletes Podcast: Phoenix Copley - Navigating the NHL and Nutrition