Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mike Pereira inks deal with Bridgeport

West Haven’s Mike Pereira has managed to stay relatively local as a hockey player since leaving Notre Dame-West Haven for the New England prep school circuit years ago.

His four years at UMass resulted in 107 career points and two Hockey East All-Academic selections before beginning his pro career on an amateur tryout with Worcester of the AHL last March.

Pereira’s first professional contract, a one-year, two-way deal with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, should bring him a few miles from his home this winter. The AHL contract stipulates he’ll either be in Bridgeport or the New York Islanders’ ECHL affiliate in Stockton, California. 

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to play hockey in front of some family and friends,” Pereira said. “You can’t ask for much more, right?”

Pereira played at South Kent and Avon Old Farms before accepting a scholarship to UMass, where he was one of the Minutemen’s top scoring threats the past four years. A 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward, he scored 53 career goals in Amherst, including career bests of 17 goals and 17 assists as a sophomore.

Although considered a professional prospect even before he enrolled at UMass, his NHL Entry Draft eligibility passed without a single team taking a flyer.

There was some interest from Worcester and a few ECHL teams, Pereira said, but the chance to play in Bridgeport was a perfect opportunity. He’ll also follow the same path as his older brother, Joe, now an assistant coach at UConn. Joe Pereira, undrafted while at Boston University, also signed an ATO with Worcester immediately after his college season ended before inking a deal with Bridgeport the following summer.

“It’s funny how that all works out,” Mike Pereira said.

 The next several weeks for Pereira will include workouts with area professionals at Northford Ice Pavilion before training camp in September, either with the Islanders or Sound Tigers.  


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