Mike Pereira is ranked No. 77 by Central Scouting in their Mid-Term Rankings. He is off to a great start with Avon (17 goals, 21 assists) in 16 games. Pereira is a speedy forward, who has that extra gear. He shows great vision in the offensive zone and has really put the Avon team on his back and brought them back into playoff contention. With Avon's rich tradition of winning championships, Pereira is hoping he can help lead Avon back to the top.
McKeen's: How did you become interested in hockey? At what age did you start playing organized hockey? What youth hockey program did you play in?
Pereira: My brother started to play hockey when he was around 5 or 6. I used to go to his games and ended up trying a pair of skates on myself when I was little. I started playing organized hockey when I was around the age of 4. I played in the West Haven Youth Hockey Program (the town I lived in).
McKeen's: Describe the type of game you play. What are your strengths? Weaknesses? What type of player do you consider yourself?
Pereira: I think I play a fast-paced, high-tempo game. I consider myself a playmaker. I make plays and open up time and space for myself with my speed. My strengths are my speed, my vision, and my positioning in the offensive zone. I believe that I need to get stronger and support the puck better.
McKeen's: What would you say is the most underrated facet to your game?
Pereira: I believe that my shot is the most underrated facet to my game. It has improved in the past couple years and I have put a lot of time into it. It might not be the hardest shot in the game, but it gets where it needs to be. I think I work hard as well. I'm not the biggest guy on the ice by any means, but I still go in the corners and work against kids a lot bigger than me. I enjoy it.
McKeen's: Which NHL player do you model your game after and why?
Pereira: Marian Gaborik. He is a speedy, crafty forward who creates time and space with his speed. He's a goal scorer too.
McKeen's: Who are the five most talented players you've played against and what specifically do you admire about their styles?
Pereira: Wade Megan (F) - very good player who can shoot it and has a lot of poise.
Garrett Clement (D) - smooth defenseman who has poise and great vision. Patrick Mullane (F) - very hard worker who is skilled and can put the puck in the net. Cam Atkinson (F) - speedy forward who can shoot it and knows the game very well.
Jeff Silengo (F) - hard worker who is a heady forward. Great vision and is a sneaky.
McKeen's: Before Avon, you played at South Kent, what has been the biggest adjustment moving from one prep program to another? What made you decide to go to Avon out of all the prep schools in New England?
Pereira: I think just leaving another school is a tough situation. Leaving kids I worked with all fall and being around all the time is a difficult situation. I think getting to a new team and starting a new bond with another team has been the most difficult, but I enjoy where I'm at. I would do anything for my teammates. Avon has a lot of history to it and I have always wanted to go there before I went to South Kent.
McKeen's: Describe your decision process in committing early to UMass Amherst? What are you looking forward to the most playing at UMass Amherst with coach Cahoon?
Pereira: I really liked what UMass and its staff had to offer to me. It is a place I could really see myself going to and enjoying it there. It isn't a BU or BC where it has a ton of history. I want to be apart of a team at UMass where we could continue the progress they are making now. Each year they are getting better and I want to be apart of it. I am looking forward to coach Cahoon's coaching style. He doesn't "handcuff" his players. He lets them play, while they still follow the systems he has to offer. He is a very similar coach to coach Gardner (Avon coach) and coach Marotollo (former South Kent coach).
McKeen's: Were there any other schools in the mix or was it Massachusetts all the way?
Pereira: There were a few schools in the mix. BU, Providence, Yale, Quinnipiac, and BC was in the mix.
McKeen's: You are finishing up your senior year, any plans on playing in the USHL after the season?
Pereira: I really don't know. I haven't given it much thought. I am focusing on doing anything possible for Avon to win another New England championship.
McKeen's: What were your expectations coming into this season?
Pereira: My expectations coming into the season were to do anything possible to win. I have never really won and I want to be a winner.
McKeen's: Your brother, Joe, is a junior at Boston University. You are scheduled to be at Massachusetts next year, so you will be playing against your brother - do you guys ever talk about it? Are you looking forward to playing against him?
Pereira: My brother and I always fool around. It will be a great experience. We will be brothers off the ice, but on the ice we go after each other harder than anyone else goes at it. I am looking forward to it. He pushes me to limits I never thought I could get to, and I credit him to my success so far.
McKeen's: Describe your summer? Do you play a lot of hockey or relax and workout? What do you focus on during off-season training?
Pereira: I work out with Mike Bouchard during the summer. I play hockey here and there. But I mostly work on my strength during the off-season.
McKeen's: The NHL Entry Draft will be coming up for you this year. Are you thinking about it at all?
Pereira: It's been lingering in the back of my head. But I don't pay too much attention to it. I just focus on doing whatever I can to help my team win.
McKeen's: Is there an NHL team that you follow closely?
Pereira: I have always been a Rangers fan since I was little.
McKeen's: Which areas do you consider you have to improve to succeed in the next level in college and further?
Pereira: I think I have to work on my strength and conditioning to play at the next level.
McKeen's: In your opinion, what do you think your teammates would say about you?
Pereira: I would think that they would say I'm a relaxed, "joke-around" kid who enjoys the game. I come ready to play day in and day out.
McKeen's: What about your coach? How do you think he would describe you?
Pereira: I would hope he thinks I'm a good kid. I think that I'm a leader on and off the ice.
McKeen's: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Pereira: Graduating from college and seeing what happens from there. I hope there's an opportunity for me to play somewhere.
McKeen's 4 Fun Questions:
1. What has been your best hockey moment so far? (Goal, hit, etc.)
Pereira: Winning the New England regional championship when I was a first year Midget minor.
2. Favorite actor/ actress?
Pereira: Jessica Biel (the girl from 7th heaven and Summer Catch). She is amazing.
3. If you had your own theme song, what would it be?