Fort Wayne, IN-- The Komets announced today that four players from last season’s Kelly Cup championship team will be returning to Fort Wayne. Forwards Anthony Petruzzelli, Zach Pochiro, and Oliver Cooper will join defenseman Blake Siebenaler on the preseason roster. Rookie defenseman DJ King has also inked a deal. The 70th anniversary season of Komets hockey will begin at home Saturday, October 23rd against the Wheeling Nailers at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
Petruzzelli, 28, will be entering his fifth season as a Komet. Last season, the 5’9 forward scored 11 goals while taking home the Komets award for Best Defensive Forward and the Wiegmann Family "True Komet" Award. Petruzzelli has played 179 career games with the Komets tallying 108 points. Before turning pro, Petruzzelli played four seasons at the University of Vermont. The Federal Way, Washington native has also skated four games in the AHL.
Pochiro, 27, appeared in 32 games with the Komets last season registering 29 points. Pochiro was a fourth-round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues in 2013. The 6’1 right shooting forward has played portions of seven seasons in the ECHL totaling 240 games with the Komets, Kalamazoo, Alaska, Quad City, Norfolk and Allen. He also played one season in Denmark with Esbjerg Energy.
Siebenaler, 25, a Fort Wayne native was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third round of 2014 NHL entry draft. Last season with the Komets, the right-hander played 47 games registering 16 points. Siebenaler has also skated 84 games in the AHL.
Cooper, 26, played four seasons at the University of New Brunswick before signing with the Komets last season. The 6’3 forward played in 17 regular season games scoring two goals, adding two assists with 28 penalty minutes. In the Kelly Cup Playoffs, Cooper registered three goals and an assist in eight games.
“With these signings the Komets officially begin the journey to defend the Kelly Cup,” said General Manager David Franke. “We all know how much fun we had winning the cup and we want to keep it. Anthony Petruzzelli, Blake Siebanaler, Zach Pochiro, and Oliver Cooper were all instrumental in our run to the cup last season. Newcomer D.J. King is a promising defenseman to the Komets. Along with the players we qualified we feel we have a good core base from which to assemble the rest of the ‘21-‘22 Komets.”
King, 20, amassed 140 penalty minutes in two seasons in the OHL with Saginaw and Hamilton. The 6’3 216lbs defenseman will be entering his first year as a pro. DJ’s father, Derek King, played 830 NHL games with the New York Islanders, Hartford Whalers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and St. Louis Blues. He’s also served as head coach of the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs for the past three seasons.
“DJ is a hardnose, tough to play against defenseman who is reliable at his own end of the ice,” said Head Coach Ben Boudreau. He comes from a great background and will be a great addition to our group.”
The Komets have presented qualifying offers to goaltenders Robbie Beydoun and Stefanos Lekkas. Also, forwards Anthony Nellis, Matt Boudens, Stephen Harper along with defensemen Nick Boka, Matt Murphy, and Marcus McIvor have also been extended offers.
The Komets will open their 2021-22 home campaign on Saturday, Oct. 23 when the Wheeling Nailers visit for a 7:35pm faceoff on Sweetwater Ice at the Memorial Coliseum.
Season tickets for the 2021-22 season are on sale now at the Komet office at 1010 Memorial Way. Single game tickets will go on sale in September. For more information visit Komets.com or call 260-483-0011