In his last three years with the Prince Albert Raiders, everything about Carson Perreaux screamed fun.
He constantly pranked teammates as they were being interviewed before practices and did just about anything to make them stumble or laugh during their answer. Most of the time, he succeeded.
During his own interviews, he laughed and smiled quite a bit on his own—stretching his thin but proudly worn moustache he grew all summer in preparation for last Movember.
But hidden behind his grins and his chuckles, Perreaux’s affection for the sport was fading away. This offseason, he decided to retire from hockey; the Raiders made an official announcement on Tuesday in a press release.
“I lost the love for the game,” said Perreaux, who will turn 20 years old on Dec. 28. “If I don’t enjoy it anymore, why would I continue to do it—you know what I mean? You would see me laughing and joking around all the time at the rink, but that’s mainly because it was the guys that I was with that made the experience as good as it was for me.
“But right now, I don’t have the urge to play or the drive for the game anymore. That’s ultimately why I’m not going back, or playing at all.”
Perreaux would have been fighting for one of the three overage spots on the Raiders. Dakota Conroy, another 1994-born player, was very close with Perreaux during his time with Raiders and said Perreaux has meant a lot to him.
“He’s a good buddy. Since I got here, he’s always been one of the funny guys and one of the guys I’d always hang out with,” said Conroy, a teammate of Perreaux’s for the last two seasons. “It’s a personal choice of his and he doesn’t regret it—I’ve talked to him about it.
“It’s always weird seeing a guy just quit hockey, but at the same time if it makes him happy, I think everyone on the team wants to see that.”
Perreaux isn’t the only one to call it a career during their major junior. Just over a year ago, Stephane Legault announced his retirement from the Edmonton Oil Kings, also while heading into his 20-year-old season. In 2008, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL) forward and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Stefan Legein gave up a chance to play in the NHL to retire while he was just 19 years old.
Although major junior hockey presents some exciting opportunities for its players, it also can present various obstacles and sacrifices. The grind players have to go through with many late-night bus rides, juggling hockey and school work, time away from their family and friends, can be significant.
Although he didn’t feel comfortable getting too specific, Perreaux noted that some of his reasons have more to do with what happens behind closed doors.
“There’s a lot of things behind the scenes that go on and a lot of things that unless you’re extremely dedicated and love the game 100 per cent in and out, there’s some things that can make it really unenjoyable,” said Perreaux. “I can’t really say a whole lot, there are some things I can’t really say, but there are a lot of things that I feel don’t have to be in with just playing the game you love.”
Although he’s made his decision, Perreaux appreciated what the Raiders did for him for the past three seasons, as well as the support he received from his own family and his billet family.
Of course, there are some things that Perreaux will miss about hockey. Developing lasting relationships with his teammates and playing in front of big crowds are his biggest two.
Perreaux said he plans to attend post-secondary school in the near future, and also plans to work and snowboard in the meantime.
Perreaux made the Raiders out of the 2011 training camp as a 17-year-old free-agent forward. He played 186 games for the Raiders in his three-year career, and put up a total of 32 goals and 58 points. Perreaux didn’t miss a game last year as he put up career highs in goals (18), points (29) and penalty minutes (41).
He was only one of three Raiders to save a freezing six-week-old puppy on a cold, January night back in 2012.
On Twitter: @jeff_dandrea
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