The Fort Wayne Komets are looking for the 25th coach in their
55-year history, The News-Sentinel has learned. Greg Puhalski, the winning-est
coach in United Hockey League history, is taking over the new Chicago Hounds
team in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Puhalski, 41, recently completed his sixth season behind the
Komets' bench. During his tenure, the Komets won the 2003 Colonial Cup, had
back-to-back 50-win seasons in 2003-04 and 2004-05 and won four division titles. Last season he led the
Komets to a sixth-place finish in the overall UHL standings. The team was
knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by Rockford in five games.
``This is a personal and family-related issue for Greg,'' Komets General Manager David Franke said. ``I know this was a very difficult decision for Greg to make, but as we sat and discussed it, it will bring him a breath of fresh air, and we'll take on a different look, too.''
Puhalski worked with Chicago Tuesday during the UHL dispersal draft in Detroit. David Franke and Komets President Michael Franke made the selections for the Komets.
``We have no negative thoughts at all on this,'' David Franke said. ``Greg has done a tremendous job for us.''
Puhalski won 271 games as Komets coach, second all-time in
franchise history to Ken Ullyot's 304. He has 359 wins in his UHL career,
including two years in Port Huron before he came to Fort Wayne.
Because he had a year remaining on his contract, the Komets are
expecting compensation from the Hounds. The former Richmond RiverDogs, the
Hounds have several players the Komets could have interest in, including
defenseman Dan Vandermeer or goaltender Mike D'Alessandro. David Franke said any compensation won't be announced until the UHL meetings.
Puhalski's wife Ali is an actress who worked in Chicago a few years ago but moved home to Fort Wayne.
A move by Puhalski to Hoffman Estates would allow her to
resume her own career.
``I want to
thank the Frankes, especially David and Michael, for their support,'' Puhalski said. ``They've been
tremendous and my wife and I would like to thank the entire Fort Wayne community for
making us feel at home here.''
Puhalski said discussions began two weeks after the season and picked up momentum last week. He starts June 16 as coach and director of operations.