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Pereira Prepared to Make Touch Choice

By Kevin Beattie

Game Program, January 8, 2005

It is really not surprising that Vic Pereira is beginning to feel some anxiety. But then again, what college student entering the final semester of his senior year doesn't have a little angst in his gut? Throw into the mix the fact that his hockey career, which has spanned almost two decades, could also be coming to a close, and there might just be a few sleepless nights in the upcoming months for the Rensselaer forward.

"Upon graduation is a thought I cringe at," the big winger from British Columbia said. "I would love nothing more than to play hockey, but at the same time, reality has to set in at some point. I am not getting any younger and I do not want my degree to depreciate in value over a year or two while I may be able to play minor pro hockey."

In reality, Pereira likely has little to worry about. With his upbringing and intelligence, combined with his family's track record of successfully dealing with life-altering events, odds are very good that he will choose the right trail.

Vic and his identical twin brother, Joe, grew up playing soccer, hockey and baseball. Their older sister, Sherri, played soccer, basketball and softball. Their parents, Lynn, a registered nurse, and Charles, who works for the City of Surrey, certainly had their hands full trying to juggle everyone's schedules. Somehow, they managed to be everywhere all the time while maintaining a sense of family at home.

"About three weeks in August was the only time my brother, sister and I weren't busy with sports," Vic said. "Despite our busy schedules we have always been a very close family. My Mom and Dad made a concerted effort to have the family sit down for dinner at least five times a week. Also, it was very rare that my parents didn't make it to our games. They made their plans around our schedule so that they could be sure to support us."

Being able to show that support became much easier, at least financially, for Lynn and Chuck in late December of 1990. Upon arriving home from a hockey tournament, they got a message that would change their lives forever.

"We all came back from out of town and as was - and is - the norm, my Mom immediately went over to the answering machine," Vic said. "She pressed play and it was one of the guys from my Dad's work. All he said was, 'Chuck, we won.' At first my Dad wasn't entirely sure what was going on, though he had an idea. He called the guy back and their numbers came up. The only question that remained was whether the guy who was supposed to buy the tickets that week actually bought them. He was out skiing but they eventually got a hold of him and the rest is history. Once my Dad told everybody, there were tears all around."

Winning a quarter of $4.2 million can do funny things to people. After all, that is a lot of money and there are a lot of things to spend it on. However, nothing really out of the ordinary took place with the Pereiras.

"Within the next year we moved within the same subdivision but to a slightly larger house that had a basement that my brother and I could shoot pucks around in," said Vic. "Other than that, there was little difference in our living style. My parents were very private about how they dispersed the money. I know they gave each member of the close family a fair amount."

"As of today they both work very hard. They have spent thousands of dollars, not on tangible items, but on coming to see my brother and I play at various spots in the U.S. As my Mom always says, 'That's what I love to do more than anything, so that's what we prefer to spend our money on.' This was always in rebuttal to our plea for them to get a bigger TV or a nicer vehicle. They have never been huge on that kind of stuff. They'd much rather spend money on more family-oriented needs and wants. They are two of the most selfless people I know."

Getting that house with a basement to shoot pucks worked out well for the family as both Vic and Joe eventually earned the opportunity to play Division I college hockey in the United States. In the meantime, the twins continued to compete with one another.

"From what I can recall and what I have been told, my brother and I were quite the handful," Vic said. "If we weren't throwing fisticuffs we were probably yelling at other or running around causing a ruckus. Growing up a twin, it's virtually impossible to escape comparison, whether it is as a person or through the various sports we played. As a result, we both attained a very competitive attitude, which caused emotions to run high from time to time."

As brothers do, especially twins, they grew extremely close. "Don't get me wrong, having matured over the years I can now admit that he is, and was, my best friend. Having gone through all the good and tough times I can honestly say I wouldn't want to grow up any other way. I always had someone to play with and we shared, and still share, all the same interests and friends."

Of course, there had to come a point where Vic and Joe were separated. Following their second year of playing junior hockey, Joe earned a scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Vic would stay for another year of juniors and, for the first time in his life, would be without his brother.

"We played on every soccer, basketball, hockey and baseball team together growing up," Vic said. "We played our first two years of junior together as well. The following year was rather different considering I had never been away from my brother for more than three days."

The following year, Vic had a decision to make about his future. Should he follow Joe to Nebraska or was it time to forge ahead individually? After a recruiting trip to RPI, Vic sat down with his parents and decided it was time to go his own way.

"On my visit I learned even more about the tradition of hockey, the famous alumni, and the high level of education that would be made available to me if I were to come here," Vic said. "It would have been a no-brainer if there wasn't a strong possibility that I was going to be able to play at UNO with my brother. After returning home and talking to my parents we all decided that making my own path would be the best way to go."

It was a decision Vic, a management major who is regularly on the Dean's List, does not regret.

"Socially, this has been the best three and a half years of my life. I am the only one from our original class to have had the chance to live with each member for at least one year. Through this I have established friendships that I will cherish for life. The same goes for several who have moved on and for those who are below me in class."

Pereira will undoubtedly rely on those friends as he makes his decision about his immediate future.

"Since before the season started I said I would reevaluate at the end of the year to see how I feel. Perhaps I will be at ease, perhaps I will feel that I have unfinished business. Either way I am going to prepare for one route or the other."

While Vic, who would one day like to work in a marketing capacity with an NHL team, remains uncertain if he will pursue a career in professional hockey, there is some incentive to do so. Joe is currently in his second season with the Peoria Rivermen of the East Coast Hockey League.

"I have never played any sort of organized game that counted for anything against my brother. When I came to RPI I was hoping to have the chance to play against him at UNO, but unfortunately, it never worked out."

If that is the route Vic chooses and he finally gets the opportunity to play against Joe, you can bet Lynn and Chuck will be there.