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Tailing the Komets

Puhalski is leaving

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.


Posted in: Komets


Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:04am

Boy, the names being thrown around here...the next 30 days can't go by fast enough...

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:05am

Ok Tony, Now you're getting too technical. People made it abundantly clear on here that he would not leave. Period. Just rejoice that he's leaving. I think it's time for a farewell party.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:32am

I just wanted to say good luck to coach and hope things go well for him in Chicago. I think that they do need to check with Neumeier on the job. I think that he would make a good coach.

Tony E
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:40am

Mark, the Boyce thing was off the radar. As far as Sid, he is going to be a head coach and a good one. He has paid his dues and is ready for a shot. If not here it will be somewhere. There are a ton of possibilities and I am sure the Komets have a list of ready cantidates. You are right, this is going to be an exciting time and a fun season next year.
Ilovehockey maybe you are right to a point. I don't believe the Komets forced him out. If he wanted to come back he could have. I understand people are happy he is gone. I also know many cities who would have felt fortunate to have him. He did nothing to cast shame on the Komets during the time he was here and brought plenty of success. Folks wanted a change, now one is at hand. Hopefully the next coach will be able to duplicate the success of the past few years.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:43am

Amen Tony.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:46am

Why would want Troy he would use the same system that Coach P used. We need fresh ideas and a tougher team. Let's get Killer in here now....

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:47am

Well, I hope all you Puhalski-haters are happy now, finally. Don't you realize he was the winningest coach in league history? He will continue that trend with the Hounds. I can't wait until the hiunds come in here and whoop the Komets. Then all you people (Hit, Chuckitt, JM among others) will be saying "why didn't we keep him?"

OK, so they had a bad season. You've just thrown the diamond ring out with the trash.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:51am

As I've called for previously.


He's out of contract at Rockford.

Or me.

At least, by God, we'd have apower play.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:53am

Glad you are "Happy" for us, Skate, because alot of us die-hard Komet fans are ecstatic about this move!!!
Let's get started on a new brand of Komet Hockey!!!

Tony E
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:53am

Skate you are right and the "bad" season wasn't really bad. I think he did his best job with this team.
Can I get you guys to think about coaches who are NOT UHL retreds? That means, no Killer, no Willet, etc. I also agree Troy might not be the change you guys want. I do think he will make a good coach but the time and place may not be right for him here right now.
Here is the good news, Blake said this has been in the works for awhile now. That means the Komets have had time to get a list together.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:57am

You know Tony, if you're not looking at UHL retreds, that pretty much leaves somebody with little expierence at this or any higher level. The Frankes say they want to go in a new direction and it may be with a coach who's never coached at this level before.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:58am

Skate must have been a huge Puhalski lover. Poor person. He's not the only winning coach out there. We've lost a lot of excellent players because of him. I don't think Neumie would be like Puhalski. You forget, no one could voice their opinion with Chief, be it good or bad. He would get rid of them. Do you really think that Neumie would have pushed that? If you do, then you're not thinking straight. Offer him the job first, see if he's interested. On a different subject, I was told that somebody on here the other day was bashing Guy. Are you just plain nuts?

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:00am

Guy could outskate, out hussle, every defenseman we had on the ice. He worked his position and had to work the other defensemen's positions many times to save potential scores. I would be honored to have Guy back. He plays with all his heart, unlike a few other defensemen we had this year.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:14am

I'm jumping up and down for joy, too! Not that I wish anything bad on the Chief, but I just think it's time for a change behind the K's bench. Don't think I want Martinson though - couldn't stand him this past season. He's such a whiner like all the Hogsbut I'm sure they got that from their coach. I would like to see Neumie get a chance, at least as a full-time assistant coach, if he's ready to hang up his skates for good. Personally, I'd love to see Robbie Laird back, but I'm sure he makes a whole lot more money scouting for the Kings.

Tony E
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:17am

I don't remember anyone bashing Guy but I guess anything is possible.
Greg, it depends how you define experience. Take Sid. Many years as a player in several leagues. His only head coaching experience saw him lead the Canadian under 17 team to a gold medal. He has put in 6 years as a assistant coach. This is a guy who has put in the time and work and has earned a chance to have his own program. Is it risky? Sure but really what coach isn't? Scotty Bowman isn't coming here.

If anyone cares, here is the bio on Sid. I think you might be impressed (and his days in Fort Wayne are mentioned)

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:21am

NOT Kaminski or Willett, PLEASE.

Every team I've ever seen Kaminski coach (in 2 different leagues) was every bit as boring as the Komets were last year.

Willett has other baggage.

With what FW has to offer -- city, stable ownership, fan support, history, building -- we should be able to pick and choose. There shouldn't be a lack of quality interest.

BECKY: When you get a second, look up SARCASM in the dictionary. Or review any of my posts since day ONE on this, or any, blog, regarding Puhalski.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:23am

I didn't see the thing on Guy. My husband saw it on here. I haven't been on for a few days. Just too busy at work. Finally, a slower day. I just know that hubby was not too happy about what he read.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:29am

Guy had a fantastic season and says he wants to come back. Hope the Franke's keep him around as long as he wants to stay.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:30am

Tony, I did say "...at this or any higher level." Yes I agree we most likely won't get a coach who has any head coaching experience in the NHL and probably not the AHL either, but I seem to remember someone asking somewhere on Blake's blog (and forgive me but I thought it may have been you) to name another coach in this league that is available that has the record that Puhalski does. THe answer is no one and there's no pne around any of the leagues that come to mind that's any where close.
So in effect losing Puhalski is huge because the K's will almost have to hire somebody that has zero experience at this level or hire a UHL retread.

Tony E
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:35am

Greg I know. I was kidding with the Bowman comment. I was talking in general regarding the old "grass is greener" theory for people who wanted coach gone.
That was me who made the comment about coaches with better record but meant that it would be hard to find a coach in this league (or any other league) with a better record who would come to the UHL. The fact is, most coaches with the record of Puhalski have moved up. You can read into that what you want. At this level, he is about as good as it gets.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:35am

I vote Neumie...to be coach!

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:36am

Al Sims. Although he has not had much success anywhere else.

Tony E
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:39am

Do you think Al Sims can relate to today's players at this level? You don't see too many guys his age in this league. I ask because I don't know much about his personality.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:51am

Speaking of Martinson and such who did Rockford name as their coach today?? There was suppose to be a press conference.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 12:29pm

Will be interesting to see who we get from Chicago as compensation. Why do the K's think they will get a high end player made available to choose from??? Or did they agree on a list before letting Puhalski go??? Skate, your right alot of us are happy now that coach P is gone; but nobody said he was a bad coach, we just said we are tired of his boring teams. I dont want to go to a hockey game and feel like I am in a library... You have your opinions we have ours, and by the sound of the article the "diamond ring" had a hand in taking itself to the trash...

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 12:30pm

Last I heard Sims is coaching in the CHL, but that brings us back to someone else who wasn't in favor of reliving the 'glory years".
AS far as Puhalski's record. He isn't moving up. Does anyone else find that a little curious?

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 12:32pm

Reliable sources told me Teddy Garvin, Moose Lallo & John Ferguson have all contacted the Frankes.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 12:33pm

Somebody has to explain this notion of boring team. I can remeber many a night the K's were 30, 40, even 50 shots up per game with Puhalski and it seemed more times than less. I agree that leagues want to ramp up offense and most coaches are fighting it, I'm just not sure Puhalski system was that bad. He did win a lot of games after all.
I guess in the end it's all the player turn over I couldn't get over.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 12:35pm

Not enough brawling for some, Greg. Al was an assistant coach in the AHL the second half of this year.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 12:36pm

Martinson resigned with Rockford