Archive for July, 2008

Sims happy for Reiter

July 31, 2008

Komets coach Al Sims said he’s very happy for goaltender Kevin Reiter that he got the chance to sign in England.

“I figured we wouldn’t get both guys back,” Sims said. “After winning a championship, the whole idea is to give people the opportunities to play in places they’ve always wanted to play or in higher leagues. This is what we wanted them to do. (Matt) Reynolds put that into a trip to Europe and so has Kevin. I told them both you can always come back here and play.”

“We’ve had a lot of goalies offered to us that we’ve said no to because we were waiting on Rieter,” Sims said. “I’m sure we’ll have three or four kids here in camp and we’ll take the best one. It’s a big advantage to having two guys like we had last year. If we can do that by waiting until late again that may be an option. It certainly seems like goalies fall out in the first week of the season.”

Sims also said he expects to start the season with seven or eight rookies just like the Komets did last season. The team currently has five under contract. Last year players like Mitch Woods, Mathieu Curadeau and Olivier Legault all signed just before training camp or after the season had started.

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This is from Kevin Reiter

July 31, 2008

I signed last night with Bouch’s old team the Basingstoke Bisons in the Elite league. I’ve always wanted to play in Europe and when this option became available I had to take it. I’ve been talking with Ryan Aldridge, coach, a lot lately and I liked what he had to say about the opportunity with his team. I am very excited for the opportunity, but now the summer just got shorter by more than a month. Talking with Bouch, he had good things to say about the Elite league, the town of Basingstoke, and the Bison fans. Basingstoke is close to London and it will be nice to take day trips there when the team has off days. It will be an easier transition compared to some of the other countries I received offers from. Being an English speaking country was a big part of my decision along with the local university offering a one year full time MBA program. I won’t be out of my comfort level too far and I hope that I can give the Bisons a chance to win night in and night out like I did this past year for the Komets. I would like to thank the Komet organization, Al Sims, and the fans for the opportunity to play here, an unbelievable year and lots of memories.

Komets nation

July 31, 2008

This came from to me today from a long-time Komets fan.

Hi Blake,

I thought I’d share this story with you as a way of brightening this sad day when I must attend a viewing for one of my friends in Ft. Wayne’s amateur hockey family.

My family and I vacationed in the Southwest in early June. As a geologist I’m always open to a good collecting stop, and we made an effort to get to a quarry where we could find good trilobite fossils. This was in southwestern Utah, about an hour east of the Nevada border. The place is a wasteland, about as far away from anything as you can get. Not only that, the quarry is located about a 45 minute drive from the main highway up a rough dirt and gravel backroad.

We parked and started to walk down a path to the quarry wearing my Komets hat when we met a woman walking up to the parking area. She looked at my hat, said “Oh my gosh are you a Komets Fan?!”. Turns out that she, her husband and her two children were big Komets fans and
had even been in the Coliseum for the overtime win in the playoffs.

Our two families worked for the next two hours in the back-boonies of Utah digging for fossils. The husband had grown up in Fort Wayne and was a goalie in the youth hockey program a couple decades ago. They now live in Cincinnati, and their 7-year old son is a big fan of Guy Dupuis. We never did get their names, just being Komets fans seemed enough to know.

I guess there really is a “Komets Nation”!

Kanman is now at Komet Kuarters

July 30, 2008

If you’d like to check him out in person, you can see  him there. We’re going to  hold off on the auction until after the Olympics. The winning bid will go to Rob Guinn’s family. Kanman was designed by long-time Komets fan Jerry Long of Texas. We’ll have more details later.

Komets sign four, including Warner

July 28, 2008

Fort Wayne area native Brandon Warner has agreed to terms for a second season with the Komets and will carry his rookie status over to the 2008-09 campaign. Warner, 25, skated his first pro season last year scoring six goals and 13 assists for 19 points in 59 games. Warner appeared in all 13 playoff games enroute to the IHL Turner Cup championship. The defenseman is a native of Huntertown, Indiana, and graduated from Carroll High School. Warner attended Michigan State where he appeared in NCAA play with the Spartans for four seasons becoming only the second Indiana native to have joined the Michigan State Spartan program.

The Komets also signed the leading tandem of last year’s Quebec QJAHL team. Jean-Philippe Roy-Vallieres and Samuel Bergeron combined for a total of 106 goals and 130 points for the AssurExperts.

Roy-Vallieres (roy val-ee-AIR-uh), 20, completed four seasons in the Quebec juniors last year leading Quebec of the QJAHL with 54 goals and 118 points.

Bergeron, 21, completed two seasons of Quebec junior hockey last season scoring 52 goals and 112 points with Quebec.

Rookie center Maxime Gravelle, 21, was also added to the Komet’s preseason roster. Gravelle is an Ottawa native and skated the last two seasons in the Quebec junior system. Last year the center skated seven games with Vaudreuil in the QJAHL registering two goals and eight points. Gravelle also appeared in 29 games with Sorel Tracy of the LNAH (4a) last year.

“Today’s player signings represent some of the youth we will be bringing to the hockey club this season,” Komet general manager David Franke said. “Brandon Warner is the elder statesman of the group at 25 years old and we are very happy that he has decided to return. His play improved game by game last year and he was a very valuable defenseman in the playoffs. Bergeron, Roy-Vallieres and Gravelle will be making their U.S. pro debut with the Komets and all three are very capable offensively. Gravelle will also add a physical presence to the lineup.”

Komets golf outing

July 23, 2008

The 2008 Fort Wayne Komets golf outing will be held Oct. 4 at Deer Track Golf Course. Registration is open to the first 36 teams and starts at 11:30 a.m. with lunch. A shotgun Florida scramble format will start at 1 p.m. followed by a dinner. The cost is $300 per team and includes greens fees, two carts per team, range balls, meals, beverages, tax and gratuity. For more information, call Josh Testin at 471-8432 or email to josh@komets.com.

Congrats to former Komet Mike Butters

July 22, 2008

He was named GM of the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals today.

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Mike Butters has spent over 16 years in the pro and junior hockey ranks as a player, coach, general manager and owner. Butters has served as president, co-owner and associate coach of the Helena Bighorns junior A team for the past eight years. In the past four seasons as members of the Northern Pacific Hockey League, Butters led the Bighorns to three Cascade Cup Championships in 2005, 2006 and 2008. During his tenure in Helena, Butters has promoted over 60 players to the NCAA level as well as several others to major junior and the professional ranks.

Butters was instrumental in the formation of the West Coast Hockey League (WCHL), whose teams joined the East Coast Hockey League following the 2002-03 season to form the new ECHL. Butters was the general manager of the WCHL’s Bakersfield Fog during their inaugural season in 1995-96.

Butters played eight years of professional hockey, signing contracts with the Detroit Red Wings, Québec Nordiques and Montréal Canadiens and playing for their minor league affiliates. In 21 career AHL games with Adirondack, Halifax and New Haven, Butters posted two goals, three assists and 76 penalty minutes. In 65 career IHL games with Fort Wayne, he recorded six goals and six assists with 216 penalty minutes. Butters also played professional roller hockey in the RHI and Pro Beach Hockey. He captained Team Canada in roller hockey for two years, playing in over 40 international games.

Butters, a defenseman/right wing, is familiar with the Admirals from his time with the ECHL’s Greensboro Monarchs during the 1989-90 and 1991-92 seasons. He won the Riley Cup with the Monarchs in 1990. Butters was also a member of Greensboro during the 1992 playoffs when the Monarchs fell to the Admirals three games to one in the East Division Finals. In 77 ECHL regular season games, Butters scored 14 goals and added 27 assists with 368 penalty minutes. He added five goals and five assists with 173 penalty minutes in 21 playoff games.

Huk signs, exhibitions announced

July 21, 2008

The Komets announced Monday that winger David Hukalo has agreed to terms and will return to the Komet lineup for 2008-09.

Hukalo, celebrating his 30th birthday today, will be entering his sixth pro season and fifth with the Komets. The left winger started his pro career in 2003-04 skating 40 games with the Kalamazoo Wings in the United Hockey League. He appeared in 11 games with the Wings at the start of the 2004-05 season before being traded to Fort Wayne.

Hukalo has appeared in 223 games with the Komets over the past five seasons registering 53 goals and 123 points. The Edmonton, Alberta native posted his best season last year with career highs of 20 goals, 24 assists and 44 points in 70 games. Hukalo also was awarded Best Defensive Forward for the second straight year in addition to collecting his first league championship.

The Komet’s 2008-09 roster expands to nine players including five forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender with 11 weeks remaining before training camp. Camp begins Monday, Oct. 6 at the Coliseum.

The Komet’s defense of the Turner Cup championship begins on the road at Port Huron Friday, Oct. 17. The Fort Wayne home opener is slated for Saturday, Oct. 18 against the Flint Generals at 7:30pm.

The Komets will skate three tune-up tilts beginning with a visit from the Bloomington Prairie Thunder Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 7:30pm. The Komets will skate in exhibition at Kalamazoo Friday night, Oct. 10 at 7:30 at Wings Stadium. The Komets and Wings will return to Fort Wayne for the final pre-season match Saturday, Oct. 11 at 7:30pm. Both Komet home exhibition games will be held at the Memorial Coliseum.

Prayers needed for Jason Baird

July 18, 2008

Muskegon Fury forward Jason Baird was critically injured in a landscaping accident Thursday near Youngstown.

Details of the accident were not immediately available.

“Everybody in the Muskegon Fury family is shocked by this news,” Fury coach Bruce Ramsay said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Jason and his family. If there’s anything we can do as an organization, we will do it.”

Check Saturday’s edition of the Muskegon Chronicle for more information on this story.

Franke: I think Hukalo will get done

July 17, 2008

Komets General Manager David Franke said there could be a few more signings announced next week, and that he believes forward David Hukalo will re-sign for next season.

“I’m almost 100 percent sure he’s going to sign back here,” Franke said. “We have one more time to meet, and I think that will finalize things. I’m real confident he’s going to be back here.”

He’s also meeting today with goaltender Kevin Reiter, though Reiter told me he’s going to be patient this summer and find the best deal. Who can blame him?

The Komets are also trying to work out some deals with AHL teams for training camp tryouts or possibly even two-way contracts. Franke said he’s confident he has solid proposals to make to the agent of Olivier Legault and Mathieu Curadeau.