All Things Hockey Perani’s Hockey World


Photo by Mike Naddeo

In Genesee County, the go-to place for hockey equipment is Perani’s Hockey World – a Flint institution founded decades ago by former Flint Generals goaltender, Bob Perani. Born in Rome, Italy, Bob moved with his family to Canada when he was just nine years old. This is where he was first exposed to the game of hockey, according to his son Robert, now vice president of the company. “Everyone plays hockey in Canada,” laughs Robert. All of the kids in his father’s neighborhood played on the street or the pond. “They put him in the net because he was the littlest,” says his son. Thus began Bob’s love of goaltending. At the age of 16, he was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs and placed in their farm system as a goalie.

Bob also played briefly in the National Hockey League for the Los Angeles Kings and for the American Hockey League’s Springfield Kings in Springfield, MA, then on the International Hockey League team in Muskegon. He and his wife, Kris, moved to Flint on New Year’s Day in 1969 when Bob became the goalie for the Flint Generals. The couple had two children, Robert and Lahna. While playing for the Generals in 1974, Bob pursued his first business venture, Perani’s Pizza. Four years later, he opened Bob Perani’s Sport Shop, which was located on Davison Road. Initially a general sporting goods store, its focus was on hockey equipment, explained Robert. But it quickly transformed into a specialty store. “Hockey was beginning to grow,” says Kevin Ward, Robert’s brother-in-law and Perani’s president/COO. The store moved to Dort Highway in 1989 and then to the Dort Mall in 1997 after Bob purchased the building.


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