From his first time as a Head Coach with the Winkler Flyers in 1999 to present day where Ken Pearson serves as Head Coach & General Manager of his home town Neepawa Titans, plenty has happened in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) since his coaching start in the late nineties.
On Saturday night in Neepawa, you can add another moment in MJHL history to the list as Pearson manned the bench for his 1000th MJHL game as a Head Coach. Looking back on his time over the last 20 years, it’s something the long-time bench boss isn’t taking for granted.
“Well, it means a lot to me, and to have the 1000th game in Neepawa is even more special,” Pearson shared of reaching the milestone. “I think of all the great people I have met and have great friendships to this day with. It’s crazy to think that I have 280 more games in the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) in total if you add the time I spent in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) with Brooks and the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) in Battleford.”
After playing parts of five MJHL seasons (1989-94) in his hometown of Neepawa, Ken took the plunge into the coaching realm during the following season thanks to another MJHL coaching legend in Don MacGillivray.
“Don is who gave me my start in coaching in Neepawa and is the reason I still am coaching today. Don and Jeff Wiest both took a chance on me and I owe a lot to both of them.”
Pearson credits his ability to adapt as one of the reasons for his longevity in junior hockey and says the relationships he has made with his players over the years is a big reason he continues to share his passion for the game.
“The players are so much different now than when I started in so many ways. The technology that we have at our disposal is amazing, no more taping from VCR to VCR, you have video available that minute, so you have to be able to adjust. These young men keep you young at heart. I had so many former players reach out to me on Sunday, I was truly overwhelmed and loved each message,” Pearson concluded.
Ken is a two-time MJHL Champion (Winkler Flyers 1997-98, Winnipeg South Blues 2005-06).