Fort Wayne, IN – Komet President and Co-owner Michael Franke passed away at Stillwater Hospice in Fort Wayne on December 10, after a lengthy battle with cancer at the age of 63.
Michael and his brothers Steve, David, Richard, and Bill purchased the Komets franchise in 1990. Michael was a Mad Anthony Red Coat recipient in 2017, along with his brothers and Komets Co-owner Scott Sproat. In addition to being a respected member of the ECHL Board of Directors, Michael was instrumental in sustaining the United Hockey League, reviving the International Hockey League, and ultimately merging the Central Hockey League with the ECHL, where the Komets reside today. Under the Franke brothers, the Komets have won seven championships in five different leagues.
“Michael was the soul of our family and the Komets. Our family is deeply saddened and trying to cope with Mike’s passing,” said Komet General Manager David Franke. “Komet hockey was a part of Michael’s life as a young boy. Becoming the Komets president was a lifelong dream he realized in the summer of 1990. Michael deeply loved his family, the Komets, and the Fort Wayne community. Michael was a good man, a loving husband, father, uncle, and brother. He is reunited with our mom, dad, brother Richard, sister-in-law Barbara, and cousin/brother Tommy Franke. Please keep his wife Teresa, daughter Katie, her husband Eric, and Micheal’s son James in your prayers. As our dad told us many times, nothing stays the same; things change, and we keep moving forward. We will move forward, but with heavy hearts.”
Michael is survived by his wife, Theresa; daughter, Katie; son, James; his three brothers, Bill, Steve, and David; and his sister Mary.
There will be a moment of silence in remembrance of Michael this Friday before the Komets game against Utah.