As hockey evolves in the statistical sense it is the off-ice preparation through video and analysis that has become a difference maker between winning and losing.
To that end and in what can be termed a rather progressive move at this level of the game, Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League are bringing in a full-time video coach effective the 2017-2018 season.
Nick Perri has been hired by the Eagles to head up their new video and analytical department and the 21-year old native of Suffern, New York heads to the Michigan Soo with considerable experience, especially considering his young age.
Perri spent the 2016-2017 season as assistant coach and assistant general manager — with a focus on video and analytics — with the Binghamton Jr. Senators of the 8-division, 48-team North American 3 Hockey League.
Perri helped Binghamton win the NA3HL Northeast Division regular season and playoff championships with a combined record of 49-1-1 — that is correct, 49-1-1 — before losing by one goal in the single-elimination semi-finals of the league’s Silver Cup championship tournament.
The season before, Perri worked as a secondary assistant with the New Jersey Titans of the North American Hockey League. And before that, beginning at age 17, he was a regional scout and recruiter with the NAHL’s Coulee Region Chill.
Suffice to say that Perri has a lot of junior hockey coaching and scouting appearance for someone who is just 21 years old.
At any rate, in hiring Perri away from Binghamton and the NA3HL, Eagles president, general manager and associate coach Bruno Bragagnolo has plenty to say about the new addition to his staff.
“I think that Nick and what he brings are going to give us a big advantage over teams in our league,” Bragagnolo told HockeyNewsNorth.com. “I first met Nick when he was helping out with New Jersey (the NAHL Titans and NOJHL Eagles have ownership ties) and right away his statistical and video expertise became very apparent.
“We’re excited to be able to embrace the new age of hockey by bringing in someone of Nick’s abilities,” added Bragagnolo, who has spent more than 35 years in the game as a coach and general manager. “Nick is wise and experienced beyond his years and we are beyond happy that he has accepted our offer to move to the Soo and the NOJHL.”
Perri, who had to give up hockey as a young teenager because of what he termed “concussion issues”, said he has since devoted his role in the game to video and analysis.
“It’s a lot of work but I have fallen in love with the video and statistical aspect of the game,” Perri told HockeyNewsNorth.com.
“Hockey nowadays is so much about video and analytical preparation,” Perri continued. “Extra analytics can increase a team’s ability to expose the tendencies and weaknesses of the opposition.
“What I do is form my own equations for statistical breakdowns such as scoring chances per shift. I have dozens of equations in how to break down the game and different ways in which to analyze our team. It’s putting simple math into an equation and coming up with a final number,” he explained.
Along with his fiance Nicole and their five-month old daughter Kennedy, Perri is looking forward to moving to the Twin Soo area within the next four to six weeks.
“I have already been up there (for the Eagles tryout camp that was held in May) and I can see why people fall in love with living up there,” Perri relayed.
Having known Braagagnolo for a few years now, Perri has also had a chance to meet members of the Eagles coaching staff, which includes the experienced, grey-haired likes of bench boss Jim Capy and assistants Joe Behling and Bill Vanderleest.
“Everyone with the Eagles seems excited to be adding the video and analytic component of the game to the program,” Perri noted. “Personally, I can’t wait to move up there and get started. I have heard so many good things about the Eagles as an organization and the NOJHL as a league.”
As a bonus, part of Perri’s duties with the Eagles will be to produce a scouting video on every player on the team and forward them to National Collegiate Athletic Association schools.