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Bob Perani passes away suddenly at 69

Pretty stunning news from Flint: According to the Flint Journal’s Roberto Acosta, hockey entrepreneur and former Flint Generals owner and goalie Bob Perani has passed away:

Bob Perani, a former hockey player turned businessman in the Flint area whose name graces the city’s entertainment and sports arena, died at the age of 69 this morning while on an international flight from Detroit to Tokyo on his way back to his retirement home in Thailand.

“He could be serious when it was needed, but he was more of a teacher and had that type of demeanor, not only with me but my sister (Lahna Ward) and all the employees that worked for us,” said Robert Perani. “It wasn’t a boss/employee relationship. He wanted people to learn lessons in life. The things you did on the job reflected how you lived your life.”
Robert said Bob would work tireless hours in building up Perani’s Hockey World, which encompasses 17 sporting goods stores in the United States and two in Canada since it began in 1976.

Acosta reports that Perani was going to sell his retirement home and move back to Michigan, and Flint’s NBC 25 and WNEM are confirming the news of Perani’s sudden passing.

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I know some guys who work at one of the stores and I heard about it around 2. Sad day for the hockey world and especially the Flint area.

Posted by T on 04/16/12 at 03:46 AM ET

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I used to shop for hockey gear with my dad in his first store. It was a tiny little place crammed to the freaking rafters with gear that made me salivate every time I went in there. To think that he went from a little shop on Davison Road in Flint to one of the largest distributors of hockey apparel in the country (possibly worldwide) is pretty remarkable. He did a whole lot for the game, especially in Flint. Much respect.

Posted by godblender on 04/16/12 at 04:50 AM ET

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He was the nicest guy.  I highly recommend anyone in the Flint or surrounding area to visit Peranis Hockey World in the Dort Mall (on Dort Hwy, south of 69).  His collection of antiques will rival any museum in the area.

I remember going to his store when I was a kid.  I wanted a Wayne Gretzky Rangers jersey (don’t judge me).  The staff couldn’t decide how the lettering for the name on the back actually went.  Bob happened to be in the store, he said “enough of this, why don’t we just send it to Madison Square Gardens and have seamstress for the Rangers put them on, I know the guy.” A few weeks later my jersey came back the right way.  A great thing to do for a little kid. 

He also donated a ton of stuff to our roller hockey team, because he was fascinated with roller hockey and was trying hard at the time to get it to grow.  I think he had a great understanding of the economics in the area that roller hockey was much cheaper for kids to play than ice.

Sad for hockey to lose a guy like this

Posted by Jdunc from Flint, MI on 04/16/12 at 07:25 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.