Brandon Perrone’s unique career path in hockey could serve as a good example for youngsters.
Perrone, however, is aware that there is so much more he can do.
The New Jersey Titans goalie’s commitment to continuing that positive example off the ice led to his recognition as this season’s North American Hockey League Community Service Award winner.
Michael and Michele Perrone instilled in their son, a 20-year-old from Hauppauge, New York, a sense of commitment.
“My parents have always taught me to kind of give back,” Perrone said. “I’ve always grown up, through my role models in the NHL, just realizing how much of an impact they really have. Even when somebody kind of higher up just says ‘hi’ to you, it can go a really long way.
“I think that’s just always been important to me to be a role model and help spread the game of hockey that way.”
Growing up on Long Island and becoming a goalie in his earliest days in the sport, Perrone idolized former New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro.
After attending one of DiPietro’s camps as a youngster, Perrone treasures that DiPietro took the time to get to know him to the point that he now sees the U.S. Olympian as a friend and advisor.
Perrone, who had been cut by multiple NAHL teams while trying to make it into the league, communicated with DiPietro again this week when his dedication paid off with a commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey at Alaska-Anchorage.
New Jersey is losing more than a No. 1 goalie as Perrone heads off to college.
When the Titans conduct their service initiatives, Perrone is often at the forefront.
Perrone speaks to kindergarteners through second graders as part of the team’s Kindness Program, delivering an anti-bullying presentation. He participates in Read Across America and has spent extra time helping students with special learning needs.
“I love helping out and being able to make a difference in somebody’s day,” Perrone said.
Entering college in the fall undecided on his major, Perrone is not certain whether he will turn that interest into a career path or simply try to maintain an involvement in his community on a volunteer basis.
Both on and off the ice, Perrone has shown the willingness to commit time to an effort.
After growing up through the youth programs on Long Island, he started his junior career early as a 15-year-old, and finished that season as the Goaltender of the Year in the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League with the Long Island Junior Royals.
Perrone tried to make the jump all the way to the NAHL for the 2015-16 season but was cut by multiple teams and wound up instead having a successful season in the North American 3 Hockey League, posting a 1.73 goals against average with the Texas Junior Brahmas.
Cut early in camp by the Titans prior to the next season, Perrone made his way back to the Royals for 14 games in which he again excelled.
When a roster opening developed on the Titans, Perrone got the call to the NAHL where he remained for more than 2 ½ seasons, improving his game and increasing his playing time.
“I definitely have a very unique path,” Perrone said.
Along that path, Perrone said he learned the importance of work ethic.
“A big thing for me was the goal, ‘Get one percent better every day,’” he said. “I kind of took that to heart.”
Showing up early, putting in extra time after practice, being aware of his nutrition and working out were all part of the equation.
“How serious I ended up taking the game helped me take my game to the next level,” said Perrone, who was in goal for all 10 Titans playoff games this season.
Perrone saved 100 of 104 shots when the Titans won three straight to rally from a 2-0 deficit against the Jamestown Rebels in the first round. He then helped the Titans extend the regular-season champion Johnstown Tomahawks to five games before being eliminated.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.