Keith Peiris, the President & CEO of Cyberteks Design meets Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek.

Youth Hockey Player Brings Thrashers Web Site To The Cutting Edge

By Kevin McCormack

Fifteen-year-old Keith Peiris of London, Ontario, Canada, is like a lot of teenagers in high school. He's a sports fanatic, loves computer games and looks forward to leaving home and heading off to college.

But something sets Peiris apart from his peers. While other 10th-graders his age enjoy computer games, Peiris actually designs them. In 1999, at age 11, Peiris founded Cyberteks Design, an interactive web design company that specializes in hockey Web sites. As an avid youth hockey player, creating Cyberteks Design was the perfect way for Peiris to combine his passion for both hockey and web design.

Cyberteks Design is run out of his parent's basement, but despite the low-tech surroundings, Cyberteks Design is a cutting edge company that recently designed the NHL's first-ever Dynamic Screensaver with live NHL scoring for the Atlanta Thrashers and created a package of interactive games for the team's official Web site.

"Atlanta gave us a great opportunity with this project," said Peiris.  "They said show us what you can do with an interactive screen saver. This is the kind of project we really enjoy, working with a top-class organization like the Thrashers and creating something brand new. "

The success of Peiris' company has led to a list of business awards (The National Post named it one of the 100 best IT companies in Canada), an opportunity to travel to China and Hong Kong on a Team Canada trade mission; and the chance to work with numerous hockey organizations on improving their Internet presence.  Besides working with the Thrashers, Cyberteks Design has designed sites for the NHL Officials Association, Ontario Minor Hockey Association and the London Knights (OHL).

"What separates Cyberteks Design from a lot of web companies out there is that Keith and the rest of the company have a true passion for hockey," said Thrashers Vice President of Sales & Marketing Derek Schiller. "That love of the game shows through in the quality of the work that they do."

A huge Patrick Roy fan, Peiris says that his favorite team growing up was the Colorado Avalanche. He closely followed the Avalanche when former Avalanche head coach and current Thrashers Head Coach Bob Hartley was behind the bench, leading them to the 2001 Stanley Cup. And Peiris' success with Cyberteks Designs has allowed him to meet numerous NHL stars, including a recent meet-up with Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek.

One unique aspect of Cyberteks Design is that Peiris is actually a talented hockey goalie and brings that knowledge to his Web design business. Peiris recently attended Junior B, C & D Training Camps in Ontario, an outstanding accomplishment for a player of his age. And while his first love will always be hockey, his interest in Web design is a close second. Cyberteks Design allows Peiris to meld his two passions into a business that continues to grow.

"Initially, I was playing with Internet technologies for recreation. However, I learned that there was great potential in the web development market," said Peiris. "Also, starting a company would give me a portal to showcase my abilities. Cyberteks Design has been very successful in the hockey market. We have been working on many hockey-related projects, therefore my experience in hockey has given me insight into hockey-based projects."

The work with the Thrashers was the first time Cyberteks Design worked directly with an NHL club, but if the results are any indication, it won't be the last. Peiris' work with the team includes creating a desktop application that users can install on their computers to provide an interactive screensaver with live game results, rosters, team news, video highlights and links to player pages and schedules. In essence, it's a screensaver that allows the user to access real-time information on the Thrashers.

Cyberteks Design also worked with the Thrashers to improve the content of the Kids Club section of the team's Web site. Peiris and his staff of five designed an interactive hockey video game and an e-card creator, which will allow kids to send Thrashers-themed email greeting cards to their friends and family.

Launched in conjunction with a redesign of the Thrashers' official site, Cyberteks Design helped add a layer of interactivity to that promises to keep the club at the forefront of the league's official team sites.

"One thing our new site does is increase our outreach to the local, youth and grassroots hockey communities," said Schiller. "Working with the youth players in the entire Southeast region is an important goal of our fan development initiatives and it made sense to work directly with Keith, who as a youth player himself, knows exactly the type of Web offerings that would appeal to this community."

So what's next for Peiris after traveling the world and starting up his own web company?

 "My dream is to attend Harvard University."

Memo to the admissions office: Sign the guy up.