Brendan Perlini’s call-up to the NHL ranks was a proud moment for the Guildford junior ice hockey club, when he became the first player from its development programme to ice in an NHL game.
The 20-year-old forward made his debut with the Arizona Coyotes at Columbus against the Blue Jackets and he followed up with another appearance against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Kid’s got wheels pic.twitter.com/57bhlqgfOg
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 7, 2016
With his parents and older brother Brett in the arena, Perlini skated at left wing on a line with Jordan Martinook and Jamie McGinn against the Blue Jackets, recording nearly 14 minutes of ice time.
Perlini’s debut was a landmark moment for the Flames’ junior set-up and one which club chairman John Hepburn hopes will serve as an inspiration for players currently in the programme.
“The whole purpose of youth sport is to help develop children in the ways of fitness, productive activity, teamwork and achievement that transfers to all facets of life,” said Hepburn.
“Brendan has been able to achieve great heights within hockey, and hopefully other children in the programme now can see that, and know that dreams are possible either in sport or a chosen alternate path.
“Both the Flames and junior organisation congratulate the Perlini family on this memorable moment.”
Perlini was drafted 12th overall by the Coyotes in 2014 and has also represented Canada at U18 and U20 level.
Head Coach Dave Tippett Head Coach Dave Tippett told NHL.com he was happy with Perlini’s debut.
“I thought he was all right,” he said. “He skates well – he can play at the tempo up here. He has some things to learn, but you’ve got to like some things about his game.”
Although both games ended in defeat for the Coyotes, Perlini admitted it was a dream come true to finally get his chance in NHL.
“It was pretty special – obviously, it would have been nice to get a win, but in the same sense it was good to get out there with the guys,” he said after the Blue Jackets game.
“I thought the pace was really similar (to the AHL) and it wasn’t anything I was blown away by or anything like that.
“I got the first one out of the way. I’ll just keep my confidence up and keep rolling from what I’ve done already this year.”