Coming from a small town just north of Toronto, Luke Peressini started playing hockey in grade one when most of his friends started. He hasn’t always played goalie though; it happened when he was asked to fill in for one game at the last minute.
“I started playing as defence actually,” said Luke. “One day our goalie didn't show up, and I went in net and did pretty well, so I stuck with it.”
For a lucky group of players, an end to their Ontario Hockey League career means they’re moving on to the big leagues. The remaining typically exit the league quietly after they age out, and the hockey world rarely hears from them again.
After winning OHL Goalie of the Year and earning a spot on the OHL first all-star team in the 2014-15 season, Luke, goaltender for the Kingston Frontenacs, has aged out of the OHL. However, Luke is not ready to hang up his skates just yet; he is continuing his hockey career with the Western Mustangs men’s hockey team.
“It's a school I've always wanted to come to,” said Luke. “I'm happy with my decision.”
Luke has now embraced the goaltender life, and shows no signs of looking back to his old defenseman days. While most hockey players look up to all-star snipers or playmakers like Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin, Luke looks up to goaltenders such as Carey Price.
“There’s a couple of guys [I admire], but I like watching Price play,” he said. ”It's pretty amazing what some of those goalies can do.”
Luke is looking forward to the upcoming season with the Mustangs, who have welcomed him with open arms. Despite already knowing a few of his new teammates prior to joining the team, Luke knows it’ll be an adjustment learning to play on a team that isn’t the Kingston Frontenacs.
“It's a little different obviously, I didn’t really know too many of the guys on the ice when I came here," said Luke. “It's gonna take a bit to get used to playing here but it's been fun so far.”
Luke has missed the first bit of the season with the Mustangs due to the try-out training with the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League, the affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets. After spending some time in both cities, he has returned to Western and has played one game with the team.
Despite his only game being a 4-1 loss against Windsor, Luke managed to stop 39 of the 43 shots he faced.
Hockey isn’t the only thing that Luke had in mind when he came to Western. The first-year goalie is in the King's BMOS program, and is hoping to get into the Ivey School of Business. After he graduates, he hopes to continue on in the field of business, although he knows that he needs to work hard and achieve high grades if he wants to do that.
“We gotta see how I do with my school here first,” said Luke. “Hopefully I get into the Ivey program and then get to do something with that along those lines.”