Current Athlete Of The Week: Hudson Perry

Senior Captain Hudson Perry

Don’t try to talk to Hudson Perry about statistics and personal accolades. He doesn’t care. All Perry cares about is winning and the success of his hockey team as a cohesive unit. It isn’t difficult to understand why the senior captain is this week’s Current Athlete of the Week when you take into account all that he has sacrificed for the greater good of his team this season.

Perry came into his senior year as the Whaler boys hockey team’s number one center. All indications pointed to Perry being the team’s leading scorer. He was supposed to be the guy scoring goal after goal. He was supposed to be the player everyone paid attention to and walked out of the rink talking about thanks to his unique offensive skillset and inevitable production.

But Perry sacrificed all of it when his team hit a crossroad this season.

The Whalers had a 3-4 record seven games into the season.  Two of their top defensemen were dealing with injuries and were forced to miss time. Another was moved to offense to fill out the forward group that needed reinforcements. It led to a meeting that included head coach Scott Corbett, assistant coach Bob Hickman, and the team captains. Captain Evan Belanger said that meeting was where the season’s direction ultimately began to change for the better.

“The coaches had a chat with us captains to discuss how to move forward to find success in games by switching up lines and/or moving different players to different positions,” Belanger said. “Nothing seemed to be working so Coach Hickman asked Hudson if he would be willing to play defense for the rest of the season if it came down to it. Hudson replied that he would do whatever it takes to get the team back on track and winning games.”

Perry began his hockey career when he was five years old and wasn’t always a center. He said he grew up playing defense, which made it easy for him to make the sudden switch.

“There wasn’t really any hesitation,” Perry said. “Our coaches thought that moving me back was best for the team and I think it has been working out really well.”

The Whalers made a similar move during Perry’s freshman year. The team began the season 1-5-1 that season, but finished out the final 13 games by going 9-3-1 the rest of the way after moving Perry to defense. Belanger wasn’t shy about giving Perry a bulk of the credit for this team’s improved play of late.

“It is reassuring to have someone with such great hockey sense back there on defense and I believe it has led to a newly found confidence that we have taken on as a team,” Belanger said. “These past couple of games we have played against a litany of tough opponents. His willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team and his selfless move to defense has had a positive impact on our team, which has very much been reflected in our gameplay.”

Perry would tell you the turnaround has more to do with his team’s improved knowledge of the team’s system rather than himself.

“We started off slow and had a few injuries,” Perry said. “It was frustrating for us to not be performing at the level we knew we could. I think we all knew we had to just keep working hard every day and things would start to fall into place for us. We were struggling to find our game. I think now that all the boys have bought into the system we have been playing much better. We still have some tough games left so we have to continue to keep getting better.”

The Whalers are currently ranked number seven in the Div. 4 State Tournament bracket after a strong surge midway through the season and the benefit of playing a difficult schedule, which factors into the point system.

But Perry doesn’t get satisfied, even after solid team efforts or a sudden climb in the standings. When the Whalers tied Barnstable’s Div. I program 2-2 on Jan. 26, the team earned some much needed points and was in good spirits after a solid showing on the road. Players were playing card games and talking amongst themselves without a care in the world.

But if you looked closely at the scene, you would see someone keeping to themselves in the corner with their head down. It was Perry watching the game film from the game that hadn’t even been over for an hour.

“He is always watching film,” Corbett said. “Because even if we play well or there are a lot of good results, he always wants to go back to certain plays in his head that he believes could have ended better.”

Corbett said Perry is an even better person than athlete, which is high praise from a coach who has been on the record several times claiming Perry is one of the best hockey players on the Cape & Islands.

“He is a leader where he isn’t necessarily the loudest voice in the room but he leads by example,” Corbett said. “He leads by his actions on the ice and if he gets upset enough he will speak up in the room too. But he is basically the perfect picture of what a leader is. He is sacrificing the opportunity to likely have his best offensive season, during his senior year, to play defense because that is what we need. It is always team first with Hudson. He will never put himself before the team. You can’t ask for anything more from an athlete. I can’t speak highly enough of him. There aren’t enough words.”

“He may not be our leading scorer, but he is the most important player on our team by far because he controls the game when he is on the ice.”

Perry has still had a solid offensive season so far with three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 13 games. One player particularly pleased with Perry’s transition to defense has been goalie Griffin Starr.

“Hudson moving to defense was a huge plus for me because I am very comfortable with him there,” Starr said. “It stinks to not have him at forward as he could have been one of our best goal scorers but knowing that he can be effective and always give 100 percent wherever he is placed in the lineup is huge for the team.”

Perry said quick transitions in the team’s game have been the biggest improvement and what he has been most pleased with as his team continues to play more consistent hockey.

“I think in the beginning of the year we were kind of struggling to move the puck and get through the neutral zone with speed,” Perry said. “But these past few games I think the puck movement and speed has been really causing problems for the other teams.”

Corbett said he Perry is also great with the younger generation of Whaler hockey players.

“He is great with the little kids in youth hockey,” Corbett said. “It is kind of the culture we are trying to build here like after the home games we have all of the little mite kids standing by the locker room doors and stuff like that. And you can’t have a better person be a picture of that culture than Hudson.”

Written By
More from David Creed

Whaler Football Improves to 2-1 With Statement Win Over Nauset

The Whaler football team knew they needed to be better this week...
Read More