Tanner Pearson’s path to the National Hockey League (NHL) was anything but normal.
The Montreal Canadiens rookie also agreed to tell his story during an interview with Félix Séguin as part of his podcast In the cat’s eye.
Few people know this, but Pearson started out as a catcher for the Kitchener Rangers. There he had the opportunity to develop relationships with players such as Mikkel Boedker, Nazem Kadri, Nick Spaling and Robert Bortuzzo.
“My father connected me with the Rangers to become a stickman. Kitchener had a very good team in the 2007-2008 season. The team won the OHL championship and also won the Memorial Cup. It was a special experience.”
Things then happened quickly for Pearson. A few months later, he was selected in the 14th round by the Barrie Cots during the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OHL) draft.
“I played mostly for fun. It didn’t look good at first. The person who drafted me was the general manager of a junior B team in a nearby town. He kept an eye on me and I managed to grow a few inches. The following year, Barrie could count on an excellent team. I could have developed better at the junior B level.”
However, in 2012, everything finally came together for the current Montreal Canadiens forward.
“In 2012 year was very important for me. Canadian hockey wasn’t even on my radar at first. It was amazing for me to be in the training camp and be able to be on the Junior Team Canada roster. Almost all of the players were top prospects and high picks in the draft. It’s so special to represent Canada.”
His hockey journey culminated in 2014. Just six years after playing for the Kitchener Rangers, Pearson hoisted the Stanley Cup as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.
“I could never have expected this. I got a little lucky with the way things worked out. I only played 25 games during the season, but I played almost every game during the playoffs. It was a childhood dream come true. This is definitely the best moment of my career.”
Watch the interview in the video above.