Reid Perepeluk was very happy to close out his junior career by helping the Brandon Wheat Kings win the Western Hockey League’s East Division.
Perepeluk, a Kamloops Storm alum, said their coach Don MacGillivray told the players they wouldn’t win every game, but they could try. The Wheat Kings edged the Winnipeg Ice for the title by one point with 18 wins in 24 games. They had four losses and two overtime defeats. They experienced success as everyone executed on the roles they were given and banded together. Perepeluk also said the Wheat Kings were fortunate to stay healthy, unlike some teams that lost their top players for stretches of the shortened season.
Perepeluk, who played 44 of his 140 career WHL regular season games with the Wheat Kings, felt he played really well this past season. In 21 games he had four goals and five points to go with 42 penalty minutes. The Yorkton, Sask., product was strong on the penalty kill and did his best to play an energetic role by being a physical force to create space for his teammates. He has worked on moulding his playing style similar to that of Ryan Reeves of the Vegas Golden Knights
“He always gets in on the physicality every single shift and always trying to create energy for his team, no matter what,” says Perepeluk. “That’s what I want to do for my team, and that’s probably the way I’m going to make it to the next level.”
Perepeluk began his junior hockey career with the Prince George Cougars, then was sent down to the Spruce Kings in the B.C. Hockey League. After a three-game stint, he went to Kamloops in 2017-18 and played for Storm coach Ed Patterson, who he received strong coaching from. Patterson ended up being a very good mentor for Perepeluk.
“He has such a good hockey sense and knows how the details in the game can help you get to the next level because that’s the main thing are the little details,” says Perepeluk of Patterson, who played 68 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins. “He really helped me understand those a little bit more and be able to notice that more.”
Perepeluk’s time in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League was key for him as he played more minutes with the Storm which was huge for his development.
“That’s what I needed to play and they played me a lot to help me understand and be in the situations in a game more consecutively to know what’s going on with where the puck is going,” says Perepeluk, adding that getting more opportunity to play boosted his confidence.
Perepeluk likes the KIJHL as a development league because his experience in Kamloops helped him reach the next level.
Now he’s ready to push himself to reach another level. Perepeluk received an invite to attend the Colorado Avalanche’s summer camp. He will look to make enough of an impression to earn a contract. If playing professional hockey does not work out, then Perepeluk already knows what his backup plan is. He will go to school to become an ultrasound technician.