CJHL coach’s perspective: Rob Pearson, Pickering Panthers (OJHL)

CALGARY, Alta. Yet another quality coach plying his craft in the Canadian Junior Hockey League is Rob Pearson of the Pickering Panthers (OJHL).

Also serving as the Panthers’ general manager, the former NHLer has spent the past three seasons behind the bench in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, including the first two with the rival Whitby Fury.

Action in the 2019-20 campaign saw Pearson lead Pickering to a first place finish in the OJHL’s North Division with a solid 32-18-2-2 mark.

Of note, from late November on, Pearson’s side was one of the hottest clubs in the 22-team league, boasting an impressive 27-5-4 record as they surged to their divisional title.

The Panthers also posted a four-game sweep in their opening round playoff series before the remainder of the postseason was called off due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This latest installment of CJHL coach’s perspective offers one of Pearson’s top on-ice drills in practice along with guidance he passes along to prospects who are looking to play in the CJHL.

BIO: In three years behind the bench in the OJHL, Pearson has produced 83 regular season victories. … Was a first round draft choice, 12th overall, by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1989 NHL Draft. … Spent 10 seasons playing professionally, including NHL stints with Toronto, Washington and St. Louis.

A FAVOURITE PRACTICE DRILL: My drill starts with three forwards on a high cycle puck back to the defence for a D-to-D shot.

From there the forwards attack the net with two D waiting to defend the shot.

Three forwards and one defenceman then attack the D on the blueline to make it a four-on-two the other way.

You go through all the lines then do a low cycle followed by a behind the net cycle.

ADVICE ABOUT PLAYING IN THE CJHL: Take your time in choosing the spot right for you.

Think of school first; billets and the hockey program.

With us, the OJHL provides great opportunities to develop your skills, to move on to the next level, be it the OHL, U SPORTS or NCAA D-I/D-III programs.

Set your target and put the extra work in that’s needed to get you to where you want to go.

In all leagues you will see guys fall off and usually those are the ones with excuses or that lose focus.


Ask your coaches, general manager, agents or advisors many questions. Knowledge is key. Learn every day.

NEXT UP: Brayden Klimosko, head coach/GM, Battlefords North Stars (SJHL)

PHOTO CREDIT: Amy Deroche/OJHL Images