FLINT – Bob Perani, 69, died during a flight from Detroit to Tokyo early this morning, while returning to his retirement home in Thailand, according to print and broadcast reports.
Perani is the owner of the Perani Arena, 3501 Lapeer Rd., Flint, and Perani’s Hockey World, a chain of 19 sporting good stores in the United States and Canada.
The latter business is now run by his son, Robert Perani. Details regarding Perani’s death were not available at press time, nor were funeral arrangements, which will reportedly be held at Swartz Funeral Home in Grand Blanc Township.
Perani was a local pro hockey player and fan favorite who played for a number of years as a goalie with the Flint Generals. Bob Perani’s Sports Shop, Inc. was started in 1976. According to the company’s website, the first store was a converted auto repair shop with only two employees. But after 31 years the business became known as Perani’s Hockey World, with more than 200 employees, and it is the largest independent hockey retailer in the world.
The website said further Perani’s has serviced many future college, Olympic, and professional players including Mike Modano who bought his first pair of skates from the company’s Lakeland Arena store, goaltender Ryan Miller, Brian Rolston and even at one time briefly employed former All-Star Pat Lafontaine when he was a teenager.
The headquarters for Perani’s Hockey World are located at 3600 S. Dort Hwy. in Flint. Perani was preceded in death by his wife, Kris, in 2006. – G.G.