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Komets remember Muhammad Ali

Sunday, June 5th
Komets remember Muhammad Ali

Fort Wayne, IN-- The Champ was in the building. It was a cold night in February in 2003. Not many remember that the Komets were hosting Kalamazoo that night in a hockey game at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Not many remember that the Komets were celebrating the annual Comcast Report Card Night where thousands of Fort Wayne area students with an “A” on their report cards got in for free.

Also, a special guest was in attendance to help raise funds for children fighting life-threatening diseases through The Three Rivers Literacy Alliance and Camp Watcha-Wanna-Do of Northern Indiana. Prior to the game the special guest spent approximately two hours with hundreds of kids from the camp in the Bud Suite.

The unforgettable moment of the night came before a ceremonial puck drop and opening faceoff. And it etched a spot in the memory bank of all who were there to witness it. For this writer, it was the coolest thing I have ever seen. With the lights down and spotlights racing to find him, suddenly there he was. In a Komets golf cart, chauffeured out onto the ice for all to see, in person, there he was. The Champ, The Greatest of All Time….it was Muhammad Ali!

A Komets and UHL record crowd of 10,503 roared as the former Heavyweight Boxing Champion and most recognizable person in the world was in their house. Ali stopped at center ice and stepped out onto the ice wearing a Komet jersey and showed himself as the crowd went wild.

Ali, himself charged up by the crowd, entertained the pumped audience with his famous Ali Shuffle complete with a full dose of shadow boxing.

Ali proceeded to shake each player’s hand before exiting the ice for the night. It had been quite a night for all, including Ali. Just as in the ring, he hit with everything he had. Over $15,000 was raised for the two local children's charities.

It was originally planned for Ali to make a few additional appearances that night, but the Parkinson’s disease had taken its toll and exhaustion shortened his stay. As the puck was dropped and the game started, Ali and his wife Lonnie proceeded to their car. As Ali was getting into his car, he whispered into Komet President Michael Franke's ear, "It was so loud, I wish I would have boxed here."

The champion with a boxing record of 56 wins including 37 KO’s had made his mark on Fort Wayne Komet fans forever. It was truly a magical night. It was a lasting impression that could only be made by a champion.

Muhammad Ali passed away at 12:10am ET Saturday, June 4, at the age of 74. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May the legacy of Muhammad Ali be remembered and live forever.

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
Indy Fuel @ Fort Wayne Komets
Sunday, March 3rd
Indy Fuel @ Fort Wayne Komets
Puck Drops:
5:00 PM EST
Memorial Coliseum
Indy Fuel
IND Indy Fuel
at
Fort Wayne Komets
FW Fort Wayne Komets
Memorial Coliseum
Wheeling Nailers @ Fort Wayne Komets
Friday, March 8th
Wheeling Nailers @ Fort Wayne Komets
Puck Drops:
8:00 PM EST
Memorial Coliseum
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
at
Fort Wayne Komets
FW Fort Wayne Komets
Memorial Coliseum
Wheeling Nailers @ Fort Wayne Komets
Saturday, March 9th
Wheeling Nailers @ Fort Wayne Komets
Puck Drops:
7:30 PM EST
Memorial Coliseum
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
at
Fort Wayne Komets
FW Fort Wayne Komets
Memorial Coliseum

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