Blake Perbix loves practicing and playing with his Norsemen teammates but for a change he may have preferred to be in Tampa, Florida last night. That’s where his cousin and former St. Cloud State University defenseman Nick Perbix was making his NHL debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning as they hosted the Philadelphia Flyers.
“My whole family was there, I couldn’t go because we were back here practicing. I definitely watched it, I watched the whole game,” points out Blake. When asked what it was like watching his cousin make it to hockey’s greatest stage he answers, “Kinda surreal; I grew up with him. He works super hard so it was just nice seeing his dreams come true last night.”
Blake is second on the Noremen this season in points and leads the team in assists, so while it’s natural to ask if he has the aspiration to join his cousin and make the NHL one day, he knows he’s got a lot of steps to take before that milestone. “Obviously it takes a ton of work so you just gotta take it day by day and keep working hard. If that opportunity comes some day I’d be thrilled,” admits Perbix. “Obviously it’s a dream of mine to play in the NHL so you just gotta keep working hard and see where that goes.”
One of the biggest beneficiaries from Perbix’s play this season so far is linemate and Norsemen leading scorer Kade Peterson. Perbix has picked up an assist on three of Peterson’s seven goals and two of his five assists. “It’s really nice playing with him (Perbix), he’s a really good player and he’s really fun to play with,” Peterson confides. “He’s always in the right spot and he’s always finding you on the ice, helping other guys look good too.”
Perbix is in his third year in the NAHL, all with the Norsemen, and he’s knocking off milestones for his NAHL career left and right. But in addition to accolades like 75 points and 100 games played, Blake knows that his role is changing and what’s expected of him is different than in years past. “With losing a bunch of older guys (from last year) our identity is going to change a little bit so this year we gotta work super hard; that’s how we’re gonna win games,” Perbix explains. “We just gotta keep moving forward and knowing our role.”
Peterson can see the difference in Perbix as a player and as a leader. “He’s in his third year here so he knows the coaches well and what we wanna do, so it’s helpful having him in the locker room,” compliments Peterson. “A lot of guys can look his direction for guidance and what we’re trying to accomplish here.”
While so many NAHL and junior hockey players need to relocate great distances from home, sometimes even live in new countries, Perbix was fortunate enough to be selected by the local franchise. St. Cloud is a short distance from his hometown of Princeton, MN and is where he played high school hockey for St. Cloud Cathedral. “It’s a blessing, I love it here. When I heard I was coming here I super ecstatic, it’s obviously a great place to be,” Perbix acknowledges. “I know a lot of people around here so it’s been great.”
Blake Perbix, Kade Peterson and the rest of the St. Cloud Norsemen are next in action this coming Saturday as they travel to Mason City to take on the North Iowa Bulls. That game can be watched online at hockeytv.com.
The Norsemen return home for a home game on Saturday, October 29th, vs. the Minnesota Wilderness. You can purchase tickets online at tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com and be sure to check out the new Coors Light Chill Zone section while you’re there.