Community Spotlight: Tanner Pearson

5 12 2008

Forest Heights student drafted by Barrie Colts

Kara Bertrand
Staff Reporter, Community News West
Published: June 4, 2008

Every young hockey player wishes to play in the NHL one day and for Ontario players, the OHL is the first big step. For Forest Heights resident, 15-year-old Tanner Pearson, the dream is inches away. At the beginning of May, he was drafted to the Barrie Colts. The draft was posted online and players and parents across Ontario waited anxiously to see their name on the screen.

“The day was pretty long, just sitting there waiting for my name to come up,” Pearson said. “I got pretty anxious and then it came up and the phone wouldn’t stop ringing.” He said he didn’t even see his name in the first place and was scared by his parents’ reaction on a different computer.

Pearson’s OHL dreams were in jeopardy this year after breaking his wrist right before playoffs on his Minor Midget AAA team, the Kitchener Junior Rangers.

“I think the broken wrist was a concern of his; would it affect his draft year or not,” said Pearson’s mother, Kim. “So when he got the letter that was he on the draft list, I think he was very happy just to be sure that he was that far.”

Pearson started playing organized hockey at the age of four and his first memories of playing were from the time he was six.

“I played a year up and I was in a tournament in New Hamburg and I was sick with pneumonia,” he said. “I didn’t want to stay home, I wanted to play.”

“He was fighting us tooth and nail,” said Kim.

She and Pearson’s father, Tim, said he never had to be forced to play, and always put 110 per cent into every game and practice.

“He’s been fortunate enough throughout his hockey here in Kitchener to be called up quite often to play with the older kids and it’s something that continued and helped his game, also pushed him a bit harder,” she said.

Pearson wasn’t the only player from his team who was drafted. His teammate, Derek Schoenmakers, was drafted to the St. Michaels Majors.

“Seeing one of Tanner’s team-mates that he’s played hockey with in Kitchener for nine years also be selected, I thought was great,” said Tim. “We counted up this morning and there were 16 kids that Tanner’s been on a team with throughout his time playing AAA hockey that were selected in the draft.”

Both boys will join their teams for rookie camp, from which up to four players from their age group will be chosen to play with the team next year. Both boys were chosen in the 14th round of picks.
Schoenmakers was drafted about 5 minutes after Pearson. The Schoenmakers’ power went out during the draft and had no way of knowing of the results. They were literally in the dark until a family friend called to tell Derek he was picked. The two friends text messaged back and forth when each was drafted and as Derek said, “it was a unique way to find out” about his draft.

Pearson said his father has been instrumental in his hockey journey.

“He always made me push hard to be the best player I can be,” he said. “He always says I’m going to the gym, working on my shot. Sometimes I complain but it’s all for the better.”

The Pearsons said they have been fortunate to have made so many connections and friends within the hockey community and they look forward to watching Tanner’s friends progress in their hockey careers.

It’s clear just how proud his parents are of Tanner.

“It’s been his dream, so we’re just really excited for him,” said Kim. “It’s the next level he’s been working towards. I think what’s gotten him this far is his passion for the game.”



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