Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Weekend Adventure in Cleveland - Part 2


Weekend Adventure in Cleveland - Part 2

After that wonderful lunch at Antonio's Restaurant in Parma, I ventured about 20 miles further into town to Perani's Hockey World in North Olmstead. Dubbed as "The Toy Store for the Hockey Player," it is one of 17 locations for this chain that has stores in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Ontario (Canada), and Texas. This was going to be fun for me, especially because I had known about this store as a fledgling goalie over ten years ago who was looking for equipment online and eyeing a pair of McKenney leg pads (Perani's is the largest seller of McKenney goalie equipment.). Sure, Southern California spoiled me with the size and selection of stores such as Hockey Monkey and Hockey Giant. But, this particular store had something that those two couldn't accomplish because of their newness, business demands, and size - bringing back a sense of friendliness and nostalgia.

If you're looking for throwback hockey equipment, this store is where you'd want to be. This Cleveland location is quite small, about a quarter of the size of Hockey Giant's old Anaheim store, but it's chock full of gear from at least a decade ago, if not older. I was there toward closing time, so I had a chat with one of the guys who was showing me their selection of new goalie pads (the popular brands here are McKenney, Vaughn, and RBK). Later in the conversation, he took a ladder and brought down a dusty pair of brand new Koho pads from the early 90s (think Felix Potvin's first gen pair when he was playing for the Leafs) and another pair of brand new pro stock Franklin Pads that were made for Sami Jo Small, goaltender of Team Canada's Women's Olympic team. The latter was very tempting to buy - they were on closeout for $150 negotiable - but I restrained myself and continued to browse and venture into the player's section where they stocked one piece and two piece pro stock sticks from Innovative, Franklin, TPS (the old rubber models from ten years ago), replacement blades from long-retired NHL-ers, and aluminum shafts for shimmy hockey.

I was a good girl and only got out of there with an new pair of skate blade soakers and a bumper sticker. From what the employees tell me, the flagship store in Flint, MI is up to the ceiling in old hockey gear. That would be a fun place to visit someday.

When I think about my own set of goalie gear, I've retained several pieces over the years (most specifically my chest armor and my pants) because of my refusal to transition over to the more bulky equipment that restricts movement and, despite all the new bells and whistles, hasn't given me an excuse to spend several hundred dollars on new stuff. Sometimes there's no school like the old school, and when it's comfortable, it stays.

Speaking of hockey, it was off to my hotel room in Mayfield Heights for a quick rest and then to the Cleveland Heights Community Center for the first game of my two-game hockey weekend. This facility is quite nice, is funded by the city, and has two rinks running during the winter months, one Olympic-sized and one NHL-sized. The latter becomes a gym half the year which was obvious when I saw the basketball hoops retracted into the ceiling. Here's a shot of the Olympic rink where we played our first game.

This first team, the Cleveland Heights Ice Hawks, was a much hated rival of the Dayton Fangs. It took me half a period to realize this after three penalties and a near scrum in front of the opposing team's net. They even had a huge defenseman that I nicknamed "Sasquatch" because of her dirty play. We did persevere and won the game 5-4 in regulation with a nice shot from my defenseman from the point that found a corner of the net. That win put my record to 2-0 all-time for Dayton. Now to go for a road trip sweep tomorrow against a new foe in an exhibition game.