Pearceys are leaving the Herd

Kathy Gosse
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Father and son/coach and star forward are joining Mount Pearl Blades after helping Clarenville to back-to-back Herder titles

It's official. The Herd needs a new leader.

Randy Pearcey, who coached the West Coast Hockey League's Clarenville Caribous the past three seasons, is leaving the team to take up the same position with the Mount Pearl Blades of the Avalon East Senior Hockey League.

Pearcey took over coaching duties for the Caribous in 2007 and in under his tutelage, the Herd went from last place to top spot in the regular season his first year.

As head coach of the Clarenville Caribous, Randy Pearcey (right), guided a team of mostly young players, including his son Andrew (centre), to back-to-back Herder championships in 2009 and 2010. Telegram file photo by Joe Gibbons

It's official. The Herd needs a new leader.

Randy Pearcey, who coached the West Coast Hockey League's Clarenville Caribous the past three seasons, is leaving the team to take up the same position with the Mount Pearl Blades of the Avalon East Senior Hockey League.

Pearcey took over coaching duties for the Caribous in 2007 and in under his tutelage, the Herd went from last place to top spot in the regular season his first year.

Next year, Clarenville captured its first Herder provincial senior hockey title, defeating the three-time defending champions Conception Bay North CeeBees. They repeated as Herder champs again this past April, again beating the Avalon East champion CeeBees, before moving on to the Allan Cup national senior tournament.

Pearcey's son, Andrew, an integral part of the Caribous' offence the last four seasons, is also leaving the team and joining the Blades. The younger Pearcey was named most valuable player in the 2010 WCHL final.

"I wanted Andrew to get back involved with our hockey school programs," said his father.

"He's been involved with me for the past 10 years doing various aspects of the program and he's agreed to become more involved. In order to do that, he can't be on the road every weekend during hockey season."

Pearcey said it was the travails associated with the travels of a St. John's-based coach in the wide-flung WCHL that led the decision to leave the Caribous after three years.

"People don't realize (that when) we leave St. John's on a Friday afternoon, whether we are in Clarenville, Grand Falls-Windsor, Deer Lake or Corner Brook, it takes its toll on your body and your mind," he said.

And with a hockey school business in St. John's, things were just getting too difficult to juggle.

"Personally, when I do something I like to put all my energy into it. It's going to be difficult to continue to do that on a regular basis. I could have continued to coach and go on the road every second weekend, but that's not what I want to do," said Pearcey, who also noted that his travels during hockey season has also been taxing for his business partner, Andrew McKim.

Still, The decision to leave wasn't an easy one, Pearcey said.

"I would have loved to have spent another year in Clarenville and make another run at an Allan Cup because I enjoyed the players and most certainly the executive members.

Will be missed

Caribous' general manager Derek MacPhee says Pearcey will be missed.

"He's a big loss. Randy brought a lot to the organization. I don't know if we're going to find anybody with the kind of credentials he had," says MacPhee.

"We had the coach of the year in Randy and the most valuable player in Andrew. So it's two big guns gone. But it's with my good blessings and thanks. There's nothing I could say about Randy, except that he did a great job.

"And Andrew as well. He gave us four good years and he performed every game with 110 per cent effort."

Players move and so do coaches, said MacPhee. It's a reality of hockey.

"That's something that hits every team this time of year, attrition," he said. "Last year, we lost four or five local guys and guys like Mark Chaplin, who was certainly one of the best players in the league. We went on and had a great year. It just means we're going to have to work a little harder and recruit to fill these holes."

MacPhee says it will probably be fall before he fills the coaching position.

Thone joining the team

Meanwhile, MacPhee's announced another key off-season player signing for the Caribous.

Clarenville has acquired the services of 20-year old Chris Thorne. The six-foot, 200-pounder from Paradise has spent the last three seasons playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

His first year was spent with the St. John's Fog Devils and the last two seasons with the Junior de Montreal

Thorne was know as a strong two-way player in the QMJHL and was often tasked with key defensive assignments. Last season in Montreal, he scored 15 goals, and had 10 assists in 66 games, solid numbers in a defensive role.

Organizations: West Coast Hockey League, Avalon East Senior Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: Clarenville, St. John's, Avalon East Deer Lake Corner Brook Montreal

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