On Saturday night in Austin, MN Blake Perbix accomplished a feat no one else has done with the St. Cloud Norsemen. No, that’s selling it short. He accomplished something no one has accomplished with the entire Norsemen organization, dating back to their years as the St. Cloud Blizzard, Brookings Blizzard, and in Alexandria, MN as the Alexandria Blizzard and Minnesota Blizzard. Perbix played in his 181st regular and postseason game combined in the NAHL, all in a Norsemen sweater.
“That’s obviously a pretty big individual award; for somebody to put in the time and the effort and it can be a grind to play multiple seasons of juniors and a 60-game schedule. I give a lot of credit to him for being able to do that and kind of stick through the process, understand what Corey Millen likes,” compliments St. Cloud Norsemen Assistant Coach Brock Kautz. “It obviously says a lot about who he is as a person, as a kid, and as a hockey player, to be around for that long and put up the points and numbers that he has.”
In his 181 games Blake Perbix has scored 52 goals and 131 points (52-79-131) and his numbers have him in the top-10 in franchise history in several categories. His 131 points are 5th all-time for the organization and his 123 in the regular season are 4th. Perbix ranks 6th in overall goals with 52 and 7th in regular season goals with 48 while he ranks 4th in assists both overall (79) and regular season only (75).
Perbix talks about what this milestone means to him. “Obviously it’s pretty cool. I have to thank Chris (Canavati) and all the people here with the Norsemen, Coach Millen and the fans. They’ve made it pretty easy for me to show up, just give it my all and have fun,” Perbix explains. “It’s really cool and I’m excited about it. It’s been awesome every game that I’ve played so it obviously was pretty cool to get that checked off the box.”
The Princeton, MN native played his high school hockey for St. Cloud Cathedral where in three seasons he put up 213 points (70-143-213) in 89 games played. From there he was drafted in the 8th round of the 2020 NAHL draft, #192 overall, by the St. Cloud Norsemen and since then he hasn’t played hockey for anyone else.
St. Cloud has struggled at times to keep a healthy lineup this season, and the fact that Perbix appeared in all but one game in the regular season (the second regular season game, back at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN) and all five postseason games is not lost on Kautz, who knows how vital Perbix has been to this team’s success. “Obviously when you do get guys that play consistently, it can kind of help as well as knowing what type of player you’re gonna get every time he steps out on the ice. With Blake, we know what he brings; he’s got a lot of ability and he’s a very intelligent hockey player which has allowed him to play as much as he has,” theorizes Kautz. “I think that’s one of his best qualities; his ability to make plays and see the ice and obviously somebody we have leaned on a lot. It’s great to see him be able to accomplish that.”
The St.Cloud Norsemen organization has never had a season without Blake Perbix on the team and he acknowledges that next year it will be odd with him moving on as he’s a 2002 birth year and doesn’t have any junior hockey eligibility remaining. “All three years I’ve had fun and I’m just so excited that I got to play here. It’s gonna be different next year when I’m not here but we’ll see where that goes,” Perbix notes.
For Perbix though, neither the organization record for games played nor climbing the ranks in the franchise record books for goals, assist and points don’t mean nearly as much as hoisting the 2023 Robertson Cup. “What I just did is pretty cool but what we’re chasing this weekend is bigger than that. It’d be awesome to get back to the Robertson Cup,” confides Perbix. “I had a blast last year and obviously some guys have a little sour taste from not winning it last year. So we’re just looking to bottle that up and hopefully get back there and do what we couldn’t last year.”
Perbix and the Norsemen battle the Austin Bruins this weekend with the best-of-five series deadlocked at 1-1. Games 3 and 4 will be Friday and Saturday at 7:00 in St. Cloud and Friday night the first 100 fans will receive a set of 2022-23 St. Cloud Norsemen trading cards courtesy of Rengel Printing. You can get tickets for both games online at tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com.
If the two teams each win this weekend we’d head back to Austin, MN for Game 5 at 5:05 this Sunday and that game can be watched online at hockeytv.com.