SCSU’s Peart Transitioning Nicely to College Hockey

Jack Peart (Photo Prout)

St.Cloud, MN – There was a time when an 18-year-old freshman was commonplace on a collegiate roster. These days it’s an anomaly. SCSU’s first-year defenseman, Jack Peart is one of those true freshmen, and having turned 18 in May he’s not only the youngest player on the Huskies roster but one of the youngest players in college hockey.

However, it’s not unusual for Peart as he’s progressed at levels beyond his age his whole life whether it was bantams, high school, or junior hockey. In fact, he was named captain of his Grand Rapids high school team at age 16. In the last 12 months, Peart has played high school hockey for Grand Rapids (MN), his hometown, the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League, and now he’s attacking the collegiate ranks with the highly-rated St. Cloud State University Huskies.

Peart was right out of bantam hockey and just 15 years old when he made his commitment to play at St. Cloud State and held firm in his commitment despite lots of outside distractions. He signed his National Letter of Intent two years later in November of 2020. “I committed to Brett Larson and it was a combination of things,” explained Peart in an interview I did in June. ” First, Brett is a great coach and you could see that when he was at UMD. I got to know him during the recruiting process and got to know what a great guy he is and I like his coaching style.”

Jack Peart and WMU’s Josh Passolt collide (Photo Prout)

Subsequently, Peart was selected 54th in the second round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild. Now, the 5’11” 185-pound left-shooting defenseman is paired with Tampa Bay Lightning draftee, Nick Perbix as one of the top pairings for the Huskies.

“You wouldn’t know he’s an 18-year-old if you watched him play,” said the 23-year-old Perbix in a November 30th press conference. “But, in the locker room, he has his moments of being a young kid which I love and think it’s hilarious. We sit close to each other and chirp each other a lot.”

“I love playing with him,” said  Perbix with a smile. “He has a crazy amount of skill and reminds me of (former Husky defenseman) Jack Ahcan. There are aspects of their games that overlap. He’s grown as a player in the short time he’s been here. We’ve definitely seen the step that he’s made.”

“You have some 24-25-year-olds out here and he’s by far the youngest on the team but every day in practice he’s right out there competing. His overall skills with the puck are amazing,” said Perbix.

Peart returns the compliment saying “It’s been awesome (playing with Perbix). He probably has the longest stick in college hockey so it’s pretty easy to play defense when he’s on the ice. I’ve learned a lot from him and I thank him for everything for sure.”

Jack Peart (Photo Prout)

It hasn’t been without some bumps in the road for the youngster in a sport where the average college team age ranges from 21.2 to 23.3 years old. Against the highly ranked Minnesota State University Mavericks in just his third game, Peart fanned on a clearing attempt on the penalty kill allowing the Mavericks to control the puck in the SCSU zone ultimately leading to the only goal of the game.

“What’s neat about him is you can see how good a player he is and the player he is becoming but you can also see how tough the transition is to hockey at this level especially with the schedule we’ve had, ” said coach Brett Larson. “I thought Friday night at Mankato and Friday night at Minnesota you could see that he was a freshman and had to learn. But, what I really love about his game is his ability the next night to step in and be a go-to player. He’s been able to bounce back each weekend and get better.”

“What I find about Jack is he’s extremely low maintenance and kind of acts like an old pro,” said Larson. “He just shows up and does his work. There’s not a lot of highs or lows. It’s almost a pro mentality to get the work done and be a good teammate.”

“Consistency is one of the biggest things in hockey and I know I’ve been a little disappointed when I haven’t played my best on Friday nights but it’s good to bounce back and it definitely is a learning lesson for sure,” said Peart in the November 30th press conference. “Defending is harder because players are bigger and faster and especially on the big sheet forwards have more ice to work with. Closing gaps and playing the body are the two biggest things.”

Jack Peart (Photo Prout)

Peart was also injured in the first game against the University of Wisconsin on October 22nd and missed the road trip to Colorado College and the first home game vs Omaha. “Being able to put your nose down and grinding to get back in the lineup was huge for me,” said Peart in the November 30th press conference. “It’s a lot of work to get back in the lineup but it feels good to be back.”

Appropriately, Peart scored on one of his first shifts after missing three games with an injury.  Peart retrieved a pass along the blue line from Josh Luedtke, another first-year defender, and skated a few strides forward and beat Omaha’s Austin Roden with a glove-side wrist shot. It was his second goal of the season. His first was against the University of Minnesota on October 16.

Thus far this season, Peart is tied for sixth in team points with two goals and four assists for six points in 10 games with a plus/minus of +2. He has the confidence of the coaching staff and has played in every conceivable situation for the team including the power play and penalty kill.

As far as his transition to college life Peart says it’s been easy. “All the guys have been awesome welcoming all the freshmen with open arms and just including us in everything. It can be a little tough doing that as an upperclassman but everyone has been good about it and everyone just loves showing up to the rink every day and working to earn a spot.”

“We’re all on the same team and trying to get to the same goal.”

June 11, 2021 Story: SCSU’s Freshman Jack Peart Readies for Another Challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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