From 2000 until 2004, no other Skating Saint ruled the ice quite like Rich Peverley ‘04. For three straight seasons he led the team in scoring, racking up points and captaining the club his senior year. After graduating with an Economics degree, Rich turned pro and – in his second year – found himself playing for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League. As it turns out, a SLU connection made it all possible: Ray Shero ’85 was the assistant GM of the Nashville Predators, their NHL affiliate.
“Getting my foot in the door in the American Hockey League was due to Ray Shero. He had seen me play at St. Lawrence, and I was playing in the ECHL in 2004-05 and he’s the one that gave me the chance to start with the AHL. That’s what started my career and potentially getting in to Nashville. It’s funny…Ray gave me that opportunity and I got to meet Ray a few times in my career but now that I’m in the Dallas organization I see Ray quite a bit around the rinks. He really helped me for sure. I owe him a lot.”
The next season, Rich got his first taste of NHL action with the Predators and never looked back. In 2013, he reached the pinnacle of the hockey world, winning the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins. And then, on March 10, 2014 while playing for the Dallas Stars, Rich suffered a medical emergency. While sitting on the bench awaiting his next shift, Rich’s heart stopped. It took approximately two minutes and a defibrillator for doctors to revive him. While initially terrifying, good has come from it: Rich’s incident has become a rallying cry for heart-awareness initiatives.
“What we’ve done, Nathalie (my wife) and I, we’ve raised money for supplying defibrillators. We did a Guelph OHL game and raised $40k to get defibrillators out in to the community. We did the same thing in Dallas. This year we’ve added Kitchener. So we’re going to do 3 cities and raise as much money as we can to get as many defibrillators out into the communities. You hear stories of someone who was saved by a defibrillator or someone who unfortunately did not make it because they didn’t have one or people didn’t know how to use it. We’re working on that. We’re also promoting getting states and provinces (to put) AED training into high school curriculum. That’s been the majority of our charity work. It’s called Pevs Protects and is in conjunction with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and the American Heart Association in the US.”
After retiring as a player, Rich transitioned into the Hockey Operations department of the Dallas Stars. With the official title of Player Development Coordinator, he works with players throughout the organization. “I’m following all our guys. My main focus is more of the amateur guys, helping them come along, help make decisions on if they’re ready and help get them ready for pro. You know how it is, a big life adjustment. Professional hockey adjustment. A lot of these kids have no idea.”
And what about the future?
“When I was growing up I always wanted to be a General Manager, even when I was playing. I love watching hockey and I love breaking things down. Finding guys tendencies, things like that. I always felt I would…I knew that I would get into hockey. And now that I’m in it, I really love it. I’m not going to say I love it more than playing, because playing is special, but it’s very close. At the end of the day I have a family now, and do I want to be a General Manager? Yeah, I do. Is that what’s going to happen? I don’t know. I love what I’m doing now and want to continue to do it. That’s kind of where I’m at.”
When not traveling for work, Rich currently resides in Guelph, Ontario with his wife Nathalie, and their three children Isabelle, Frederik and Elena.