Episode S1E20. The Fred Perlini Interview.
Today’s show features former Toronto Maple Leafs, Nottingham Panthers, Fife Flyers and Guildford Flames forward Fred Perlini.
Fred was unexpectedly drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1980 and on the “Big Day” was digging in a ditch when a passing motorist, who was listening to the draft on his car radio, told Fred that he’d been picked in round 8 by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The following year Fred made history by playing for the Maple Leafs second team, the Toronto Marlies in the afternoon, scoring three goals and then playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs that same evening and scoring again.
The year was 1986 and after five seasons in the AHL and just eight NHL appearances for Toronto, Fred decided to cross the Atlantic and give Europe a go, unfortunately a lucrative contract to play in Italy fell through leaving Fred high and dry.
Italy’s loss was definitely the UK’s gain, Fred received a call from Murrayfield Racers captain and good friend Chris Kelland who arranged for Fred to talk to the Nottingham Panthers head coach Alex Dampier, whose “sales pitch” was:
“Come to Nottingham, it’s not the NHL or AHL but you’ll have some fun playing again”
The deal done, Fred became a Panther and helped his new team win the Autumn Cup, their first silverware since reforming in 1980. Fred had a record breaking season, playing 45 games, scoring 108 goals, 104 assists for 212 points.
The following season Fred reluctantly chose to leave Nottingham to join the Fife Flyers, as Fred explains,
“I never wanted to leave Nottingham but Fife offered to double my wages, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse”
The Panthers, especially team manager Tony Johnson made every effort to keep Fred in Nottingham but it wasn’t to be and Fred signed for the Fife Flyers and played the 1987 – 88 season in Kirkcaldy, joining up with fellow imports Al Simms and Steve Moria.
For the following season the Flyers made the decision to trim their import costs by bringing in players from Czechoslovakia, so Fred moved on and started a 7 season run of clubs that included Deeside Dragons, Trafford Metros, Blackburn Hawks, Telford Tigers, Streatham Redskins, Basingstoke Beavers and the Lee Valley Lions.
“I think I had as many clubs as a golf club bag”
In 1994 Fred gained his British passport, and signed for the Guildford Flames, linking up once again with fellow dual national and former Panthers Captain Terry Kurtenbach.
Fred, now with a young family, finally achieved the stability he was looking for when Flames owner, Canadian CEO of Morgan Stanley, John Hepburn, signed him to a 3 year contract. Not only would he play but he would also help behind the scenes with coaching and business.
After 3 successful years as a Flames player, Fred retired to take up the position as head of the Guildford Junior Programme, a position he then held for the next 10 years. Of that time he says.
“It was the most fun I’d had and after making a living as a player for 10 years it felt really good to give back”
In 2007 the Perlini family returned home to North America, the boys were developing into very good hockey players and wanting to further their careers and follow their hockey dreams while Fred formed his own business helping develop Elite League and Pro Hockey players in North America.
With both sons following in their father’s footsteps by being drafted by NHL teams, Brett being selected in round 7 (192nd overall) by the Anaheim Ducks in 2010 and then last year Guildford born Brendan being selected in round 1 (12th overall) by the Phoenix Coyotes, there is absolutely no doubt that this is a true hockey family.
A big shoutout goes to the guys at Sports Interactive and Sega for relaunching Eastside Hockey Manager.
Eastside Hockey Manager: Early Access offers fans the most realistic, in-depth and immersive simulation of hockey management available.
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After 20 episodes we say a fond farewell to our sponsors, CrazyKennys Hockey Shop and say a very big thank you for their support over the last few months.