For most kids, the thought of dedicating your entire summer to top-tier hockey might seem out of the summer-fun norm.
Brett Pesce is not most kids.
Most kids from the local area haven’t been drafted by a professional athletics organization before becoming age-eligible to obtain their senior driver’s license. Most kids haven’t committed to a major Division-I hockey program several months prior to their 17th birthday.
Simply put, most kids aren’t Brett Pesce. Pesce, an incoming senior at Irvington High School, will be shouldering more than just hometown pride when he represents the United States in the prestigious Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in Slovakia next week.
Pesche spent the past week training with the 18-and-under USA select team in Ann Arbor, Mich. The squad features 22 players who were plucked from the USA Hockey Boys’ Select 17 Development Camp (which took place last month in Rochester, N.Y).
The Ivan Hlinka Memorial tourney kicks off on Monday, Aug.8 and will run through Friday, Aug. 13.
While he doesn’t hail from a hockey hotbed such as Toronto or Michigan—yet leaving his stick marks on ice hockey rinks all over the northeast—Pesche’s stock has grown by leaps-and-bounds the past few years.
Tourney games will be played in both Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovania. Coached by Seth Appert, the U.S. Under-18 Select Team will play against Finland, Russia, and Slovakia during the early stages of the tournament.
As a sizzling sophomore for the Irvington/Sleepy Hollow varsity ice hockey program, Pesche recorded his first hat trick in a defeat of Brewster last year, subsequently earning an All-Section selection.
Pesce was on a soaring hockey high throughout that season, announcing his name to the masses by scoring 18 goals and doling out 32 assists. He established himself as the Section’s most potent scoring defenseman, compiling 50 points. Pesce, he of the innate nose for the net and the open man, hasn’t looked down since.
Now, for the first time in his young and blossoming career, Pesce will represent the United States. The 6-foot-3 playmaking defenseman is playing a prominent role alongside highly-touted teammates such as Jordan Masters (Rochester, N.Y.), Cristoval Nieves (Baldwinsville, N.Y.), and Brendan Silk (Wakefield, Mass.).
The roster is an essential “who’s who” of U.S.A. elite hailing from rink-dotted parts of the country such as Michigan, Alaska, and Minnesota.
Pesce was selected by the Omaha Lancers with the 43rd overall pick in the United States Hockey League draft in May. Pesce will forgo the upcoming season to first receive his diploma for Irvington High in June 2012. While education is first and foremost, Pesce could potentially play one year with Omaha following high school graduation.
Pesce recently made a verbal commitment to play at the University of New Hampshire.
A slew of high-end hockey schools had been in active pursuit of Pesce. After touring the campus of UNH during a five-hour visit with his mother, Alyssa Pesche, the young prospect was immediately sold.
Pesce, who plays for the North Jersey Avalanche on the travel team circuit, jumped right at the scholarship offer the coaches heaped on him. He chose the Wildcats over Boston College, Quinnipiac, Providence, and a host of others.
The strong academic reputation and UNH’s perennial mystique in the Hockey East conference helped the UNH reel in the highly sought-after Tarrytown native.
The U.S. opens up their schedule on Aug. 8 against. Pesce's squad will face Finland at 8 a.m. in Piestany, Slovakia.