Fort Wayne, IN-- The Komets opened the 2017 training camp Monday with a noon press luncheon at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
2017-18 marks Fort Wayne's sixth season as a member of the ECHL. The Komets will share the Central Division with rivals Cincinnati, Indy, Kalamazoo, Toledo, Quad City and Kansas City. The 27-team circuit will be divided into four divisions and two conferences with the Central and Mountain divisions in the Western Conference and the North and South divisions in the Eastern Conference.
David Franke enters his 28th season as vice president and general manager, Gary Graham will serve his fifth season as head coach. Ben Boudreau will make his Fort Wayne debut as assistant coach. Also, center Jamie Schaafsma returns as player/assistant coach.
Camp was launched with 23 players on the preseason roster including 11 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders. Seven players have been attending AHL camps this year. Bobby Shea (D) is attending San Diego's camp, Jason Binkley (D) is in Iowa's camp, Alex Sakellaropoulos (G) and Curtis Leonard (D) are in Chicago's camp, and Dennis Kravchenko (F), Gabriel Desjardins (F) and Cody Sol (D) are at the Tucson camp.
Returning forwards from last season along with Schaafsma are Taylor Crunk, Mason Baptista, Gabriel Desjardins, Shawn Szydlowski and Garrett Thompson. Also returning to the Fort Wayne lineup is forward Justin Hodgman, member of the Komets 2008, 2009 and 2010 IHL Turner Cup championship teams.
Returning defensemen include Jason Binkley, Curtis Leonard, Bobby Shea, Cody Sol and Ryan Lowney. Goaltender Garrett Bartus is back in the lineup from last year and netminder Sean Bonar returns after logging three games during 2015-16.
Making their first appearances with Komets are forwards Tyson Fawcett, Dennis Kravchenko, Ralph Cuddemi and Stephen Pierog along with defensemen Mitch Nylen, Brad Bourke, Blake Thompson and Don Olivieri. Goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos also will be making his Fort Wayne debut.
Training camp will begin on-ice sessions with a practice slated for 2:30pm Monday. All on-ice practices will be held at the Coliseum during the preseason period.
The Komets have slated three exhibition games including two at home and one on the road. The preseason starts Friday, Oct. 6 with a 6:30pm faceoff at Indy against the Fuel. Saturday, Oct. 7 the Komets host the Fuel at 7:30pm. Monday, Oct. 9 the Kalamazoo Wings visit for a preseason tune-up at 7:30pm.
The Komets will open 2017-18 hosting the Toledo Walleye on Sweetwater Ice at the Coliseum Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7:30pm. The Komets are home for four games in October before making their first road trip Nov. 5 to Kalamazoo.
The Fort Wayne home schedule runs through April 8th and is filled with affordable ticket programs and discount plans including Kids Seat Free Nights, Marathon Fill-Up Card Fridays, special Family 4-Pack Nights, two Report Card Nights, Sunday Meijer Family Nights wit post-game open skates and Deuces Wild Wednesdays. Fort Wayne Newspapers return with the Upper Deck Extra Section discount coupons and many more special nights scattered throughout the season. Komet pocket schedules are available at many locations throughout the Fort Wayne area and at the Komet office at 1010 Memorial Way.
See the 2017-18 schedule here
Komet Hockey on WOWO radio-- Shane Albahrani will return for his second full season behind the Komet microphone. Albahrani has provided play-by-play since 2013 when he began sharing the broadcast with legendary broadcaster Bob Chase. Most games will be broadcast on WOWO AM 1190 with ESPN Radio 1380 as an alternative when programming conflicts occur. Fans can also follow the broadcasts at www.komets.com and listen live via Omni Source Radio Recycle.
Tickets now on sale-- Single game tickets for both home exhibition games and all 36 regular season games are now on sale at the Coliseum Ticket Office and online at ticketmaster.com. Season Tickets also remain on sale at the Komet office at 1010 Memorial Way in Fort Wayne. For more information visit Komets.com or call 260-483-0011.
Game times-- Komet home game times remain unchanged from last year. Monday through Thursday and Saturday games start at 7:30pm. Friday home games faceoff at 8pm and Sunday's start at 5pm. The only exception is Sunday, Dec. 31, when the New Year's Eve game will begin at 7:30pm.