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Tailing the Komets

Komets pick Bingham

The Fort Wayne Komets have selected Pat Bingham as the 25th coach in the team's 55-year history. Bingham, 37, edged out John Marks to replace Greg Puhalski who recently became coach of the United Hockey League's Chicago Hounds.

Komets General Manager David Franke said it was the toughest of the eight coaching choices he's had to make since his family bought the team in 1990.

Both Bingham and Marks, 58, were tremendously qualified. Bingham was recently let go as an assistant coach with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League when his contract was not renewed. The Sound Tigers' NHL parent club, the New York Islanders, recently made changes in management staff which wanted their own minor league coaches.

More than likely, the first thing Bingham did after hearing the news was to jump on the phone to start recruiting players.

``That's just what he does,'' said Jim Brooks, co-owner of Wheeling of the East Coast Hockey League where Bingham coached for two years. ``All day, all night, he's is always thinking how he's going to make his team better, whether it's now or in the future. He understands what it takes.''

Before Bingham took over, the Nailers had not made the playoffs for five straight seasons. He replaced mentor John Brophy and led Wheeling to a 51-17-4 record in 2003-04 to win ECHL Coach of the Year honors. Before he got there, the Nailers had never won more than 37 games in a season.

``As a player he was a hard nosed, really, really tough guy,'' Brophy said. ``He played hockey first and if something had to happen he took care of it. He would do the same as coach. The players liked him a lot because he worked hard for them. I think he's perfect for this day and age.''

Another factor for Bingham in the process was his knowledge of the UHL. He coached Asheville to a division title and the 2001 Colonial Cup Finals and led Adirondack to a 92-point season in 2002-03.

``He has a worth ethic that is second-to-none, and 10-15 years he'll be in the NHL as a head coach,'' Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Chief Executive Officer Jeff Barrett. ``He knows the game and busts his butt to make sure he gets the most out of his players. A lot of it is about recruiting and contacts and he works harder at that than anybody I've ever seen. If I had a job open here, I'd sign him.''

Bingham's career record is 215-123-9 as a head coach, and his teams are known for their toughness and high skill level.

``You have to have an element of toughness, but you can't sacrifice skill,'' he said early in the coaching search. ``If you are really doing your homework and working hard at recruiting, you can find those players. You can't have too many soft, skilled guys, either, but you have to be able to play it both ways. You have to be tough enough to go with them if they want to play that way and skilled enough to play with the skill teams."

His Asheville team had 12 players with 100 or more penalty minutes, but also 13 players with 10 or more goals. Adirondack had even more toughness, and five players who scored 30 goals or more. A defenseman, Bingham played seven years in Class AA hockey, so he understands what the players want. During his two years in Wheeling, 13 of his players each season advanced to the AHL.

Posted in: Komets


Mon, 07/10/2006 - 11:24am

I'd like to see Frenchy come back and have two number ones between the pipes! Frenchy wouldn't have to be the stud and if he needed time off, it wouldn't hurt the team like in years past. Plus it would give my sis-in-law something to cheer about since she is SUCH A BIG FAN OF FRENCHY'S!!!

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 11:39am

Your kidding right hoss...you don't have to sit them them...but wait..then again I don't HAVE TO either..I just do...

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 11:43am

Coach Bingham, Congratulations and Welcome to Fort Wayne.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 11:47am

Problem is Hoss, Frenchy WANTS to play all those games, or that's what I've heard, You can't get a good back up here to play behind St. Pierre becuase they know they won't get much playing time unless St. Pierre gets hurt.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 1:17pm

Other than getting Frenchy back, I hope the new coach considers bringing back - Goodwin, Milam, Jorde, and Dombkiewicz. If you are reading this Coach Bingham, PLEASE! :)

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 1:27pm

The latest is all new (except for maybe st. pierre).

Hit Somebody!!!
Mon, 07/10/2006 - 1:46pm

Congratulations Coach Bingham....I hope we don't all have to call you Chief. Let's give this guy a chance to come in and get his team stacked up before we lay judgement on him....I will give him 10-15 games....LOL

Anna....Jorde? I hope that was a joke. He is not only a horrible defensemen and a sissy, he is a cancer in the locker-room. He is so much better than this league...if you don't know that....just ask him!!!!

One request of the New Coach for next season...please do not let the opposing teams come onto our home ice and out play us, out hustle us, or out hit us. If that is taken care of...we will all be happy.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 2:04pm

Good choice, I dont think they could have gone wrong either way. I am just glad I didnt have to choose... Now with that out of the way lets start seeing this team take form....Go K's...

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 2:19pm

Blake, do we have any time table as to when some guys will be signed and do you know of any of the new guys that Bingham is recruiting to Fort Wayne?

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 2:21pm

I did notice that Jake Ortmeyer used to play for Bingham when he was in Wheeling. I hope there is a chance he could come back here. Very good defenseman.

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 2:29pm


I thought the same thing also about Ortmeyer...also the news said Frenchy was gonna let them know by midnight tonight if he would accept the offer..

this is starting to get real good...

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 2:30pm

I believe Ortmeyer is an outright free agent too right now. Charlotte doesn't own his rights and thats where he played last year so I guess you never know!

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 2:32pm

very true...like i said its starting to get real good around here...


Hit Somebody!!!
Mon, 07/10/2006 - 2:43pm

I would bet the next 2-3 weeks ought to be very exciting for us fans and this team. The balances on the season tickets are due July 31st. Wouldn't it make tons of marketing sense to announce several big signings to get the fan base's attention. I bet Frenchy will take the offer. He wants to build a Real Estate name for himself in this community...why not keep your name on the cities favorite team?

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 3:19pm

very true Hit, it should be a very interesting 2-3 weeks for the Komets...boy Oct can't come fast enough...


Mon, 07/10/2006 - 4:56pm

St. Pierre's presence will prevent the Komets from getting any kind of talented backup as a guy who is trying to move up, won't be happy to play one game in 10.

I'd rather see St. Pierre get a little less $$, play fewer games, get a better back up, have him (or HER, or HER) learn and develop under St. Pierre.

Easier reg season schedule may make him sharper for the playoffs,

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 5:11pm

I would also love to see Dombkiewicz, Miller, and Milam come back aswell. Hopefully will Bingham becoming the coach, he can convince Omicoli to sign with the Komets!

Mon, 07/10/2006 - 6:05pm

I think it's time to remove puhalski's picture and add Bingham to the Komets site.

Tue, 07/11/2006 - 8:03am

Too bad for Coach Marks....The Greenville Grrrowl went belly up Monday as well. Lost two jobs.

Tue, 07/11/2006 - 8:06am

Yeah, that is to bad about Coach Marks..I'm sure he will land somewhere...

Tue, 07/11/2006 - 9:21am

Mark & John-Where did you see this? The ECHL website has nothing nor does the Grrowl website.

Tue, 07/11/2006 - 10:02am

It was in the Greenville newspaper

Tue, 07/11/2006 - 10:09am

Thanks Brandon, That's too bad for coach Marks, I'm sure he'll be able to land on his feet. Shoot there's still the Flint job available.

Tue, 07/11/2006 - 1:13pm

Why would a quality coach like John Marks want the Flint job? Will they offer him a discount on toilet paper, since everyone has said the building is a dump. LOL! Of course, he could turn Flint into a respectable team again....given the chance.

Komet Warrior
Tue, 07/11/2006 - 1:57pm

I like think this coach might be ok if he hasnt waited to long to get the good players before they are gone my brother said he should be better than mark.

Tue, 07/11/2006 - 3:03pm

I don't think Coach will have any problem getting good players MAN! And he wasn't the one who waited until now MAN! It was the Frankes MAN!