Over the last several years, Thomas (Chase) Perry has shown a significant amount of growth as a young and budding North American goaltender. After spending three years in Andover High School as a member of the Huskies, Perry demonstrated solid improvement in each of his three seasons and even had the chance to play in a playoff game in his last season with the team.
While this year has been different for Perry as he is now a member of the Wenatchee Wild of the NAHL, the netminder has not stopped his gradual progression. Instead, the goalie has been a bright spot for his team as he has appeared in 19 games and has recorded a 2.36 GAA and .907 Save Percentage in his first season playing in the North American Hockey League.
This year, the NAHL could very well be sending three draft-hopeful goalies (Perry, Kasimir Kaskisuo, Drew Vogler, Logan Halladay), and Perry is currently leading the bunch as the highest ranked goaltender of the three. Recently, The Hockey Writers had a chance to sit down and have a conversation with Chase Perry about his draft prospects and what it has been like to transition to the NAHL after spending several years playing High School hockey.
The Hockey Writers: Being from Andover, what did it mean to you to go to Andover HS – which has a great high school hockey program – and what did you take away from that experience?
Chase Perry: Playing for Andover was awesome. Most players, they come in as a sophomore, but my coach was very helpful and he let me start as a freshman. Coach Mark Manney gave me a great opportunity to come in and prove myself and see if I can take a varsity position. I split my freshman year with another goalie – he was a junior – and then my sophomore year I went in and I think I played 24 or 25 of the regular season games. Being a part of Andover hockey was a great opportunity and it was one of the most meaningful things in my hockey career so far.
THW: What has been the biggest transition that you have had to make this season after going from Andover to the NAHL?
CP: Back in high school there were maybe one, two, or three guys that were the standout players that had a lot of skill and knew what they were doing. But here [playing juniors] almost every single person knows what to do with the puck, the right decisions to make, and everyone here is just a good hockey player.
THW: Has there been a specific experience that has helped you adapt thus far to play in the NAHL?
CP: I feel like it was really in training camp during the first week when I got here. I stepped into the net and the shots just started flying at me – it was a lot quicker than high school and I think that was an eye opener as I really had to bear down and come out and compete every day, face shots, and try to get better.
THW: What has it been like to learn from someone like Bliss Littler and the rest of the Wenatchee Wild coaching staff?
CP: It’s awesome, Bliss has been around coaching for many years and he’s one of the most respected coaches in junior hockey, and I guess in all of hockey you could say. He has so many great stories that he tells us and he teaches us how to be a pro and treat ourselves right, so it’s a great opportunity to have him as my coach.
THW: Can you describe your experience being a member of the NAHL U18 Selects team and what you took away from that opportunity?
CP: That was a really fun experience. I got to know some of the guys from around the league, and it was kind of fun to see how the other players like their teams and how they’re developing.