Submitted By Jay Davy
on Sunday, December 16, 2012
Corey Perry visits minor hockey team Oakridge Aeros at practice
By Steve Green, The London Free Press
Thursday, December 13, 2012
A topic like the NHL lockout isn’t something that would interest the average seven-year-old. All that mattered to a bunch of them Thursday was they were on the ice with a pro hockey star.
Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks helped put the Oakridge Aeros minor novice team through their paces at Medway Arena. Several of the parents recorded the practice for posterity.
“It does bring back childhood memories,” the Peterborough native and former Knight, who lives in London during the offseason, said after autographs and pictures. “You just remember the time you spent on the ice, when you loved to go to the rink every day.”
Of course, by this time of year Perry is usually somewhere playing with the Ducks. The 27-year-old readily agreed the up-and-down nature of the negotiations hasn’t been easy to take.
“It’s been tough. You get your hopes up and then something happens,” he said. “It’s a roller-coaster, but you’ve got to be prepared at any time to get back to work. This could be settled at any moment.”
He also has a strong belief in what the NHLPA is trying to do, but he’s not certain whether his presence in New York would mean much despite his stature in the game.
“Those guys have been doing it for a long time and they know what they’re doing,” Perry said. “I haven’t really talked to them except to get the occasional update from Don Fehr. Basically I just hear what’s on the news.”
Although Thursday’s bargaining session with mediators didn’t see much progress, if any, Perry remains optimistic a season will be salvaged. “Everyone’s hopeful and I still have that hopefulness in me. I’m preparing like there’s going to be a season.”
To that end, he’s maintaining his fitness regime and skating with his old junior club almost on a daily basis.
“It’s been great. You get to know them on a daily basis and you never know, some of them could be my teammates one day,” he said. “It’s been fun and they keep me young.”
The current Knights have matched Perry’s 2005 squad with 18 straight wins and can set the team mark Friday night against the Owen Sound Attack. Perry is rooting for this Knights team to get No. 19 and then some.
“In this era with the shootouts and no ties, what they’ve been able to do is amazing,” he said.
Perry is a free agent in 2013, but he’s not even thinking about that right now. “We’ve got to get back playing first. We’ll see what happens when the time comes.”
And even though he’s accomplished almost everything he can in the game —a Memorial Cup, a Stanley Cup, a Hart Trophy for NHL most valuable player, a 50-goal season, three all-star game appearances, a world junior gold and an Olympic gold — Perry wouldn’t be discouraged enough by the lockout to quit even if he was five years older.
“There’s still that drive to keep going,” he said. “You always want to do more and win more championships.”
And regain the trash-talking initiative from London native Drew Doughty of the L.A. Kings, he admitted.
Getting Perry to the practice was a snap, said Oakridge head coach Rob Crowther, who’s known Perry for some time.
“He owed me from golf,” Crowther joked. “Nah, it wasn’t hard at all. He’s a really good guy. The kids may not have known who he was before, but they certainly do now. The parents knew Sunday he was coming, so the kids have been well-educated all week.
“Ten years down the road it’s going to hit them. They were on the ice with Corey Perry.”
Who says there’s nothing good about the lockout?