St. Marys natives were teammates with OHL’s Owen Sound Attack in 2019-20
By Pat Payton
Kaleb Pearson attracted interest from a National Hockey League team during the recent PBHH Showcase Invitational in Erie, Penn.
That NHL team is the Las Vegas Golden Knights, and the 21-year-old St. Marys native will attend their rookie camp, scheduled to start Sept. 15.
During the two-week (May 31 to June 13) Showcase in Erie, Pearson scored nine goals and added two assists in eight intra-squad games. It was enough for a Golden Knights scout to reach out to the right winger’s agent.
Over 100 Junior-aged hockey players signed up for the Erie event. The majority of the players came from the Ontario Hockey League, the United States Hockey League, the North American Jr. League and Europe. The players were divided up among six teams, and scouts and a limited number of fans attended each game at the ErieBank Sports Park.
The PBHH stands for Perrott, Beck, Humphrey and Hoffman — the four OHL players who organized the non-profit event. It was designed so Junior players in their final year–like Pearson–could get one last look from pro scouts and possibly earn a contract. Pearson played two years in the OHL with the Owen Sound Attack, clicking for 28 goals and 52 points in the 2019-20 season. When Covid-19 washed away the entire 2020-21 season, Attack defenceman Andrew Perrott and his three fellow OHLers came up with the idea for the Showcase Invitational this summer.
Wants pro contract
Kaleb Pearson makes it no secret that his goal is to earn a pro contract, and the Las Vegas rookie camp next month will give him that chance.
“I’m going to go and try my best to make the (rookie) team,” he told the Independent in a recent interview. “That’s what I’m striving for, it’s one of my dreams to play in the NHL. I’m going to give it my best shot.”
Pearson wants to attend the Knights’ camp in the best physical shape possible. He is currently skating at skills and development camps in Stratford, run by Attack assistant coach/GM Joey Hishon. He is also working with fitness trainer Dylan Campion.
“I want to get on the ice as much as possible,” Pearson said. “I hope to skate every day.”
Also skating at Panthers’ camp
Before flying out to Nevada next month, Pearson will also skate at the University of P.E.I. Panthers’ summer camp at the end of August. “The plan is to fly out to P.E.I. and have our camp with all the new recruits,” he said. “I will then fly from P.E.I. to Vegas.”
At the Golden Knights’ rookie camp and tournament, Pearson will skate with Las Vegas draft picks, free agents and camp invitees. A rookie team will be picked that will play rookie teams assembled by other NHL teams such as Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes.
If a pro contract doesn’t materialize with Las Vegas, Pearson intends to return to P.E.I. and play Atlantic university hockey with the varsity Panthers. He was recruited by Panthers’ head coach Forbes MacPherson.
Off to Leafs’ rookie camp
The Independent has also learned that defenceman Sam Sedley will attend the Maple Leafs’ rookie camp in Toronto, starting Sept. 9 and running to Sept. 14. The St. Marys native, who turned 18 on June 8, is a member of the Owen Sound Attack.
“I’m excited to be invited, not everyone gets to go to an NHL camp,” Sedley said last week.
Sedley has also been on the ice as well as in the gym, hoping to go to the Leafs’ camp in the best shape possible. “Kaleb and I have been helping out at Joey’s hockey camps in Stratford, Mondays and Tuesdays,” he noted.
Sedley is currently 6 ft. and 188 lbs.
–The Las Vegas Knights’ American League farm team is based in Henderson, Nevada and is nicknamed the Silver Knights. Henderson has just over 300,000 residents.
–Forbes MacPherson played several years of minor pro in Shreveport, Louisiana with former St. Marys Lincolns’ captain Dan Wildfong (1992-95). He also coached with Wildfong in the Central League.