Monday, May 20, 2019

“When people love each other, they grieve deeply. That is why we are here today for Frank Gramps Perone.” — Senior Pastor Kevin Odor at Canyon Ridge Church in Las Vegas on Monday.

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – One by one people walked to the stage and spoke about the late great hockey guru Frank ‘Gramps’ Perone Sr. over at the Canyon Ridge Church on Monday. Some of the folks were family, others were neighbors, some cried, some smiled, some said they never met anyone more sincere and caring. Most knew him as the unofficial GM of the UNLV Rebels who are coached by Frank’s grandson Anthony Greener.

Then in the back of the room there was the great UNLV goal scorer Mike Zenzola who said he knew Gramps as well as anyone.

“He used to work in our penalty box during the UNLV games,” Mike said. “And when I went in Gramps said maybe I shouldn’t visit the penalty box too many times because the team needed me on the ice. I agreed with him. He gave me a hug. He got his message across in a very unique nice way.”

Mike played on the top line with Josh Jasek and Greener. That was one of the most potent and important lines in the history of UNLV Rebels hockey.

“The following season we had Sam Braniff with us on the top line. He set up so many goals for me. Gramps liked seeing that,” Zenzola said.

Then there was the Trimbath hockey family.  Years ago Anthony Greener, Conrad Trimbath and Kurt Long played on a top line for a Rob Pallin-coached AAA Las Vegas team. This was a powerful historic goal scoring line. 

“When Conrad played college hockey in Connecticut he always thought of Gramps, And when Conrad graduated from college it was Gramps who somehow, someway found a way to get to Connecticut for Conrad’s graduation ceremony,” Dad Trimbath said. 

About a year ago on a quiet Saturday morning we had coffee and pancakes with Gramps and hockey coach Rob Pallin at the IHop over by Village Center and Deerfied. Coach Rob likes to draw scoring plays on napkins which he did precisely that as Gramps and myself took a hard look at the ballpoint written zig-zag lines.

We both asked a lot of questions how these plays would work.

Coach Rob tapped his pen, hunkered over and showed us.

It was one of those quiet special moments in life – like magical – just the three of us talking about how to score a goal in a certain way on a quiet Saturday morning.