Paul Pearl knows a lot about what it takes to play at the Division 1 college hockey level. Prior to joining Cushing Academy in 2021, he was associate head coach at Boston University. Before that, he was associate head coach at Harvard. The bulk of his experience came as the head coach at Holy Cross for 19 years.
At Cushing, Pearl has a unique job — trying to balance building a winner with putting players in the best position to play college hockey post-Cushing. He’s also the director of player development for Mass. Hockey, giving him a good glimpse into the extensive talent pool in Massachusetts.
The Penguins went 17-7-3 last season en route to an Elite 8 berth, where they fell to Avon Old Farms, 6-0. Cushing has three Division 1 commits this season — Ethan Gardula (UConn), Landan Resendes (Boston College) and Ryan Philbrick (New Hampshire).
Pearl joined RinkWise host Stephanie Wood on the latest episode to discuss his career, building a winner at Cushing and developing talent.
On the upcoming season…
Pearl: “I think we’ll have a good team. We have a good returning group, we have a good group coming in. We still haven’t had tryouts, so we’ll still have to figure out some of those things. We lost some really good players like everybody does each year but I would think we’ll be fairly competitive. Cushing was competitive at hockey long before I got there and will probably be good at hockey long after I’m dead and buried so I would think Cushing would be pretty good this year.”
On prep schools recruiting from around the country…
Pearl: “I think that if you’re a 16-year-old kid and you’re playing competitive hockey, if you can play at one of the top prep schools and play there, then it’s going to be a good recipe for you to move on and play in college. No question. I also think that for a long time, for European kids, the only choice was to play pro hockey in their particular country. Ten or 15 years ago, you started seeing more Euros playing in college hockey or the USHL and then college hockey. I think it’s just a natural progression as those agents and advisors start finding out more about the American system of hockey that they start going backward a little bit from college like ‘all right, where are they coming from before then? Oh, prep schools — that’s not a bad idea.'”