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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Tailing the Komets

Jake Pence story

This is about how Jake and his wife Hope volunteer at the Salvation Army.

Posted in: Komets


Tue, 03/11/2008 - 4:37pm

This is truely a Blake Sebring story. Right from the heart. It is done with only the style and flare you can give it. I have really missed your "Blog" and I am very happy it's back as I am sure many real Komet fans are. I look foward to checking it out everyday. I am truly excited about you and the "Chaser" working on a book. My copy of Tales of the Komets has a special place among my reading material. This is a very "Special Team" our 2007-2008 version. I see it in the halls and locker room just like you. There is never a player crying for a point. They just want to win. They remind me very much of the 92/93 team that won it all. I am sure Al Sims is having fun. He should be very proud also.

Tue, 03/11/2008 - 9:37pm

you should write a book also! i bet you got a million penalty box stories!

Wed, 03/12/2008 - 11:21am

Here's a story we worked on last year:

The toughest job during a Komets game is not the defenseman trying to shove the behemoth away from the front of the net, or the referee trying to control 12 players and 200 feet of ice at one time or even the Scoop Guys trying to reach the upper deck with a toss.

It's the guys trying to figure out who got the assists on the goals. Sure, it's easy doing it for the home team - most of the time - but try doing it for the road team whose jersey numbers are sometimes indistinguishable, or for the new guy who was added to the roster just before faceoff or the guy in front who may or may not have actually deflected the shot.

The job falls to Komets' off-ice officials, most of whom have been there longer than virtually all of the players have been alive. Ken Roehrs and Win Rood have worked for the team for 37 years, Dennis Schebig for 31, Stan Bradtmeuller for 28, Cliff Foughty for 19, Lynn Braun for 17 and Bud Wheeler and John Cains for 12.

They are all volunteers who essentially schedule their lives around the hockey season. They are also very good. It seems like each year the United Hockey League compliments them on their professionalism and quality.

When a goal is scored, the referee tells Roehrs and Schebig sitting at the scorer's table who scored. Then it's up to them and the rest of the off-ice officials to come up with the assists while communicating on headsets. Part of Bradtmueller's responsibilities are tracking the order the puck is touched.

"We want everybody to get the assists they have coming to them," Roehrs said. "The thing we get a little bit sometimes is the players will get on us a little bit because other teams in the league aren't as stringent on the rules as we are. They want us to give the assists a little easier like they do in some other buildings."

Any in particular?

"There are two assists on every goal in Muskegon," Schebig said. "And anything that crosses the blue line in Kalamazoo counts as a shot on goal."

Bob Chase jokes all the time on the radio that it's impossible for the Komets to outshoot the Wings in Kalamazoo. In fact, the Komets have been outshot six games in a row at Kalamazoo, but outshot the Wings two times in three games there during the 2004-05 season.

The off-ice officials are also responsible for determining shots on goal, which are sometimes different from the times the goaltender stops the puck. Komets goalie Kevin St. Pierre regularly grumbles that he gets cheated on saves because shots on goal are harder to come by in Fort Wayne. The off-ice officials say a shot on goal only counts if it would have actually gone into the goal if the goaltender had not made the save.

To help determine the shots on goal, a few years ago the goal judges were equipped with headsets that allowed them to click when a shot was actually on net. Unfortunately, one goal judge earned the nickname "Quick Draw," because he kept turning on the goal light instead.

When the goal light goes on for real, the scorekeepers' job gets a little tougher. If a player feels an assist has been missed, he'll tell Komets captain Guy Dupuis, who at the end of a period will ask Roehrs and Schebig to have the press box crew check the video.

Sometimes they'll ask the opposing captain for help before the teams leave the ice. So what usually happens? The captain will come ask for an extra assist after the teams return to the ice when there's less time to check the video.

"In recent times, Chaulk was the most reputable and honest guy we had as captain," Schebig said. "If he said somebody had an assist, you could almost always bet it was an assist."

But then there have been others who would complain all the time. Among the Komets who asked the most were Bob Lakso, Barry Scully, Ron Handy, Ron Leef, Jim Burton, Wally Schreiber, Doug Rigler, Frederic Bouchard, Paul Willett, Kelly Perrault, Scott Gruhl, Keli Corpse, Terry McDougall and Brent Gretzky - in other words, some of the highest-scoring Komets of all time.

"They are all point hungry," Roehrs said. "You could ask every off-ice official who the No. 1 offender is, and I guarantee you one name would come out of everybody's mouth."

That would be Bruce Boudreau, who was one of minor league hockey's all-time leading scorers with more than 1,400 points. As Schebig said, if there was a goal and the scorekeepers knew there was another assist coming, they knew Boudreau would soon be there to ask for it.

"He wouldn't even have been on the ice sometimes and he was asking for assists," Roehrs said. "If he saw an open assist, he would ask for it. He just always thought he was in the play. He was just persistent."

The scorekeepers also understand the players have bonuses based upon their point totals. Toward the end of the season, the questioning can get a little intense.

Then there are players who could care less if they get an assist, mostly defensemen.

"The great thing about the 1993 team is that none of them cared who got the assists," Schebig said. "They cared only about one thing, winning."