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Brains and brawn 

TRURO – Daniel Perigo was only 15 years old when Brian Bourque first noticed the scrappy kid with good hands and sharp elbows.

Bourque, head coach of the University of Waterloo Warriors men’s hockey team, was running a hockey camp in Halifax at the time. A native of Cole Harbour, Bourque returned home to run the camp every summer until 2010.

That was the summer he saw Perigo for the first time and was impressed by his tenacity.

“(Perigo) plays hard, and what I mean by that is he finishes checks and plays intense shift-to-shift,” Bourque said.

He kept tabs on the young forward over the years. Next season, Bourque will have the Truro native join him in Waterloo.

After a four-year run with his hometown Bearcats, Perigo is looking forward to the new challenge. He’ll also be reunited with former teammates Phillip Fife and Sam Caldwell.

“I’m sure if you asked Phil, he’d say he had a lot to do with it,” Perigo said. “But it’s a program I’ve had my eye on for a while.”

When asked what it was about the Bearcats program he liked, Bourque said it was a mix of many things.

“They’re a good quality of person and smart hockey players. They understand defense but still have that creativity around the puck.”

Midway through last season, the coach came out to visit Perigo and the two went out for dinner. They talked about hockey, as well as Perigo’s future plans.

Waterloo boasts the top academic programs in the country according to MacLean’s magazine, a feat that “no doubt in my mind played a part in Daniel coming here,” Bourque said.

“I was raised in a house where my family always pushed academics first, no matter what,” Perigo confirmed. “It definitely factored in, knowing I was going to a good school.”

The 20-year-old will take up studies in psychology and business with hopes of someday getting into sports psychology.

The Waterloo men’s hockey team is one of the stronger teams in the country both on the ice and in the classroom. The Warriors finished third in the Ontario-West conference last season with a 17-8-2 record and went into the season featuring a dozen players with academic averages above 80 per cent.

The team also doesn’t shy from selecting junior A players, a practice not as common with Atlantic universities that load up on major junior talent.

“I’m looking to build a program where guys have roles and cherish their roles,” he said. “Phil, for example, was excited to work his into the lineup, excited to work his way onto the fourth line, excited to work his way onto the penalty kill.”

Perigo, for his part, isn’t scared to do the same work.

“I’m not too worried about it,” he said. “Hard work is never something I’ve shied away from. I think that shows in the way I play.”

Bourque said Perigo will have a chance to jump in immediately, but he expects him to put in the work regardless.

“We’ve had a lot of success with the Bearcat program, and I think that will continue with Daniel.”





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