Tucson, AZ (KOLD) - Prior to his NHL debut with the Coyotes Monday, former Roadrunner Brendan Perlini told FS Arizona's Jody Jackson, "Really can't describe my emotions being up here. It's just surreal."
Tucson head coach Mark Lamb knew exactly how Perlini felt.
"You've dreamt about it your whole life," said Lamb. "Sometimes you think it's so far away. The NHL is bigger than anything you've ever seen. Once you're there, you're kind of in shock."
Lamb got the call 30 years ago when, as a 21 year-old, he made his NHL debut with Calgary, the team that selected him in the fourth round of the 1982 draft.
"To be a professional hockey player, not a very high percentage of people get to do it," said Lamb. "The ultimate goal is to play in the NHL. It's a relief but very nerve racking and exciting."
To get to the NHL is one thing. To stay and have an impact is something more.
"There's a lot to it now. A lot of dedication. There always was. You never get there without a lot of good support.Once you get there, there's a lot of things that go into it besides just being a really good hockey player."
As for Perlini, Lamb could not be happier for him.
"The first game that you play in, it's so much fun. He played great. He deserved to be called up. You're happy for the family. You see him getting interviewed. You see him out there skating by himself in the warm up the very first time. When you go through that, it's something that you always remember."