Hockey legends celebrate home

FLINT — When this weekend rolls around, the comfort of home may feel quite like a long sit in the penalty box for area sports fans, if they decide to pass up participation in an exciting event expected to pulsate with social energy inside Perani Arena and Event Center.

The Flint Generals vs. Team Genesee County Alumni Hockey Game, Nov. 22 is a can’t-miss-it community celebration, expected to go down in local history as significantly important.

A banner will be raised, a dedication to a Hall of Fame legend is planned, and greats of the ice from Flint’s past are all on the weekend roster.

It will also serve as a thrilling trip down memory lane.

Team Genesee County player Rico Phillips can recall his first game at the arena when he was 12, and the palpable sense of unity it produced in the whole community.

“Back then (80’s-90’s) we didn’t just go for the love of the game. Some of us didn’t even love hockey yet. It was the place to be, to socialize. The “it’ place. It was more than cool. It was simply an awesome atmosphere. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that then, or now?” he stated.

Phillips, along with notorious superstar Jim Duhart of The Generals and Robert Perani are just a few of the individuals who not only are participating, but thrilled with the happening that will in their opinion pay homage to the city, the sport, and remind the community what it was like to physically engage in a real world gathering; out from behind the cold screens of electronic devices,

The late great Bob Perani’s son Robert Perani is ecstatic for this weekend’s game, and the joy it would elicit in his parents who cared deeply for local children and area hockey.

“My father not only had an impact on the sport, but he was so into community, and they gave the love back to him. With this event, those coming out are continuing that appreciation for all that my parents did for kids and the people in the area,” he said.

“Fans of The Generals were a rare group. Those in Flint were unlike others in the league, because they would line up for jerseys, cards, and autographs, similar to crowds at NHL games, ”said Perani.

As more area fans retreated to easy access sports viewing included in their monthly cable bill, “one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is how we love our community,” said Phillips, of the reason he believes the team eventually departed, returned briefly to Flint, and then disbanded.

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