(Ed. Note: The folllowing was written by Sean Shapiro, who covers the Texas Stars and the AHL for multiple publications, including WrongSideOfTheRedline.com. He will be a part of our hockey fighting panel at SXSW. Follow him on Twitter @seanshapiro.)
BY SEAN SHAPIRO
CEDAR PARK, Texas – Rich Peverley’s future as a player may be in question, but the Dallas Stars are using their AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, to help the 32-year-old forward potentially transition into another role in the hockey business.
It’s been a year since Peverley collapsed on the Dallas Stars bench in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 10, 2014 and was treated for a cardiac event.
Peverley hasn’t played since the incident and had been prior treated for an irregular heartbeat. A return to the NHL ice hasn’t been officially ruled out, but it’s likely Peverley’s playing career will come to an end, like former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer, who retired after a similar cardiac incident in 2005.
“It’s been a tough year for him,” Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill said during the Texas Stars 2-1 loss Friday. “He said, ‘Is there anything I can help you with?’ We mentioned coming down and working with some of the young players down here. He’s enjoyed it.”
Peverley started splitting his time between Dallas and Cedar Park around the midpoint of the season. He was more of an observer at first, watching games from the Cedar Park Center press box, before he started occasionally taking the ice as a volunteer assistant coach in early February.
“It’s great to have him out on the ice,” Texas Stars center Taylor Peters said. “He has such a wealth of knowledge from playing in the league. He knows what the guys are going through and I think he really has an eye for coaching.”
At practices Peverley has worked on individual drills with younger players. On Friday, he spent extra time with center Eric Faille working on a net-front presence drill after practice, helped out on face-off drills, and fired crisp passes to players working on shooting drills.
“I think it’s great, when you have an NHL player that can come down and work with the players,” Nill said. “Taking draws, or talking with them about the NHL experience. It’s great for the (AHL) players to be able to draw that information from him.”
While Peverley -- who won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins -- is helping mentor younger players, he’s also doing his own crash course in the business of hockey.
He’s taken scouting notes in the Cedar Park Center press box, spent added time with Dallas Player Development Coordinator J.J. McQueen and he’s talked with Nill about how “he’d like to get into the management or coaching side of hockey,” after his playing career is officially over.
“We sit and talk all the time. He’s always mentioned that he’d like to stay in the game somehow down the road,” Nill said. “When is that? You don’t know. That depends on his rehab and recovering from his situation.”