Sometimes it pays to be first. For the University of North Dakota, being first on the docket to reach out to Winnipeg’s Jayden Perron (back on January 1) ultimately provided the school with a commitment on the first day of signing season in August.
Although drafted by the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks and set to play the 2021-22 season with the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel, Perron – a 16-year-old forward who grew up through the Winnipeg AAA hockey scene – is set to attend his ‘dream school’, albeit, a few years from now.
“UND was always my No. 1 school and that’s where I always wanted to be,” Perron said in conversation with the Grand Forks Herald. “I would say The Ralph played a big part. When I went on my unofficial visit, you could tell it was a family atmosphere. I knew I wanted to be a part of that in the next few years. That sold it for me.”
After putting up 46 goals and 104 points in just 36 games with the U-15 AAA Winnipeg Warriors, Perron moved on to the Winnipeg Bruins U-18 for 2020-21, however, COVID-19 had other plans. He was able to join the Sioux Falls Power U-16 squad for some of the season, where he put up impressive numbers, before ultimately turning his attention to signing a tender in the USHL this past winter.
“I’m excited to sign with the Chicago Steel,” Perron told Game On. “I chose the Steel because of their unparalleled track record of developing players. I believe they have the best environment to help me reach my long-term potential.”
That long-term potential may have already been unlocked with his commitment to UND for the 2023-24 season, however, it also may just be a stepping stone for the 5-foot-8, 155-pound speedster. But for now, it’s all sunshine and rainbows for the 16-year-old, until the real work begins this fall with the Steel.
“I can’t wait,” Perron added. “I’m beyond excited. Just everything they’ve done the last few years and meeting everyone this past year, I can’t wait to play for the coaches there and play with my teammates.”