Fort Wayne, IN-- Mad Anthonys is celebrating their 60th anniversary by announcing longtime local leaders in the world of sports and politics as the recipients of its highest annual honor.
The Fort Wayne Komets’ six-man ownership team – brothers Stephen, Michael, Richard, David and William Franke; as well as Scott Sproat – along with State Senator David Long will be honored as Mad Anthonys 2017 Red Coat recipients. Mad Anthonys will officially recognize the group at its annual Red Coat dinner, sponsored by Frontier Communications, this Friday night.
The Franke brothers became owners of the Komets at one of the franchise’s most challenging periods and – along with Sproat, who joined the ownership group in 2001 – have helped turn it into one of the most popular and successful minor league franchises in sports. When the previous owners moved the franchise to Albany, NY, in the summer of 1990, the Franke brothers purchased an International Hockey League team based in Flint, MI, and relocated it to Fort Wayne under the Komets name and identity.
Since then, the franchise has won six league championships, five regular season titles and earned nine trips to the league finals. The Komets have also been named league Member Club of the Year five times and consistently rank as one of the leaders in minor league pro hockey attendance, averaging more than 7,000 fans per home game over the past 14 seasons.
“On behalf of my brothers and Scott, we are beyond excited about this recognition,” said Michael Franke. “The Komets would not be the franchise it is today without the incredible support of our fans and the entire community – and, in turn, we are happy to help the Mad Anthonys support the Children’s Hope House at this year’s event.
“2017 is a big year for the Mad Anthonys, so we thought it made perfect sense to have a big class of Red Coat recipients,” said Jim Kelley, president of the Mad Anthonys. “As both a legislator and a volunteer, David Long has always put our region first. And it’s hard to imagine the Komets being the iconic, highly successful franchise they are without the commitment and stewardship of Scott and the Franke brothers. As Red Coats are researched and selected we can think of no better group of Red Coat recipients for this year.”
Long has served in the Indiana State Senate since first being elected to represent district 16 in 1996, and has served as President Pro Tem since 2007. He’s also served as general counsel for Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne, Inc. since 1997, and been an active volunteer with several area organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne.
“I know from my experience in the statehouse how highly the Mad Anthonys and its Red Coat are viewed throughout the state,” Long said. “And I know from personal experience what a big deal this is, which is why I am incredibly honored to be among this year’s recipients.”
Mad Anthonys will honor the Komets owners and Long at the annual Red Coat Dinner Friday; this year’s Mad Anthonys Charity Classic, presented by Lutheran Health Network, will take place Saturday. They join an internationally renowned list of previous Red Coat recipients from the worlds of sports, entertainment and politics, including Neil Armstrong, John Wooden, Bob Knight, Gene Keady, Peyton Manning and Vice President Mike Pence. A full list of Red Coat recipients is available here. All funds raised by Mad Anthonys Children’s Foundation will support the Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House.
Release courtesy Mad Anthonys.
See an additional story by Justin A. Cohn - The Journal Gazette, here.
Opening night for the 66th season of Komet Hockey is slated for Saturday, Oct. 14 in Fort Wayne against the Toledo Walleye. Single game tickets for 2017-18 go on sale soon. Season Tickets are on sale now at the Komet office at 1010 Memorial Way in Fort Wayne. For more information visit Komets.com or call 260-483-0011.