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Carolina Hurricanes Call on Former USPHL Standout

By Toby Harris, 10/28/15, 5:00PM EDT


Wayne, NJ - In 2010, while on a recruiting trip in Boston, the Hitmen recognized a tall, lanky 16 year old defenseman that they wanted in their program. The Tarrytown, NY native was a smooth skater, never got himself into trouble with the puck and made the right play every time. These were the exact notes from the scouting trip that lead the Hitmen to offer, Brett Pesce, a starting defensive spot on the 2011-2012 Hitmen Jr A team. As they say, "the rest is history...."
In the 2011-2012, Pesce started very strongly, fitting right in, and playing against guys three to four years older than him. Brett's first early season highlight was scoring the game winning goal against the Boston Jr Bruins in October in front of the home faithful. However, just 17 games into the season, Pesce (who was the youngest player in the league), was struck by injury. In a game versus the same Jr Bruins team, Pesce was hit, and fell awkwardly to the ice, tearing his shoulder labrum. This was a big blow to the player and team alike, but in true Brett Pesce fashion, he rehabbed mercilessly and returned back to the ice in late 2012.
At this point, the 17 year old and the Hitmen sat down to look at his upcoming options. While rehabbing, the UNH staff (who committed to Pesce in 2010) called the Hitmen and alerted them that they were so happy with Pesce early in the season, his development with the Hitmen at the Jr A level, that they chose to speed up his arrival year and bring him in as a true 17 year old Freshman for the fall of 2012. With this piece of the puzzle in place and the Hitmen having only a half dozen games in place, the team decided to move Pesce to the USNTDP U18 program for the remainder of the season to maximize his growth prior to arriving in Durham, NH.
Over the next three seasons at UNH, Pesce, played in 110 games and he racked up an 11-32-43 scoring line and served as assistant captain for the Wildcats. After his freshman year in 2013, the 6'3 174 pound Pesce was selected in round 3, #66 overall to the Carolina Hurricanes. It was a dream come true for the Brett and his family as Brett became the 5th Hitmen player to be drafted into the NHL. Just last week, Pesce, became the first Hitmen player ever to don an NHL jersey.
"When I heard the news, it put a huge smile on my face," commented coach Harris. "Brett is an amazing person and an unbelievable defenseman. I was so happy for him!"  Harris continued, "we are still such a young junior organization (Jersey Hitmen were established in 2005) and to have Brett be the first of hopefully many guys to come is perfect. We could not ask for a better ambassador to emblazon the way for future Hitmen."