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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 - 5:47pm

Dusty will be a veteran next year. I don't know what his plans are. I heard a bunch of Kzoo vets may be retiring.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 5:49pm

I talked to Torch today and he said he's trying for NHL assistant jobs or AHL head job. Said if he ever came back to AA hockey, this would be the place.

Tony E
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 6:09pm

He did a decent job this year in a no win situation in L.A.
I certainly think he would be qualified to coach in Fort Wayne, maybe over qualified.
The question is does management want to look backwards for it's next coach. If they look in his direction, it might be worthwhile.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 6:11pm

They aren't going to look in his direction because he is not interested, but he said he'd be glad to help out with advice, whatever.

Hit Somebody!!!
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 6:46pm

Oh My God...the Frankes do indeed read your blog Blake...this proves it. That was me on top of the Budweiser Beer Cart driving the Clydesdales today parading all over town celebrating the new look Komets. It is about time. Lets have the jungle back too please. It is time for good old hard nosed tough arse kicking high scoring hockey again in the Fort. I am so excited. I cannot wait until next season now. Guarenteed we win the cup next year and we have fun doing it. I can't wait for Chicago's first trip into the Jungle so we can wipe Pulcrapski's girls all over the ice. It will be so much fun to see it from the other point of view for a change. And for anyone who thinks that last years team was entertaining, come over to the house and I will paint the sidewalk so you can watch it dry, that should entertain you.

Next Coach:
Dave Allison? Colin Chaulk? Steve Fletcher? Bruce Ramsay?

Can't wait to see real hockey next year...wait a great night this is!!!!

Tony E
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 7:01pm

QUOTE "David Franke said. ``I know this was a very difficult decision for GREG to make,"

You can spin this all you want, take all of the credit for this that you want. The fact is, if Greg Puhalski wanted to coach this team next year, he would still be the coach.

Hit Somebody!!!
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 7:18pm

Says you Tony......Frankes know how to spin things to make Greg look good leaving as well. You have to read into things a little bit. They wanted the look of this team to change, he had a year left on his contract, I am sure they told him that they wanted to make a change and that he was free to look around. He got the message and was able to leave without looking like he was let go. You can't always believe everything that is said, lots of things have been going on behind the scenes that people don't know about. Things that would blow your mind. Things will be different next year, for the better. If you want information in this town about the hockey team, alls you have to do is put your ear to the ground in the right park......

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 7:23pm

Skate, I really take offense to the comment you made about the girls only blog. Summerfield is not that cute! I'm thinking more along the lines of Michele Robinson... haha, kidding!! Hey, I actually know quite a bit about hockey, and I am proud of the knowledge I've gained over the last few seasons. I don't comment that much because, frankly, I'm afraid of getting verbally attacked!

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 7:26pm

Fellow Bloggers: If the Franke's wanted to fire Puhalski, I doubt that they would have waited this long. This was Greg's decision. He was really looking forward to next season when I last spoke to him. It is his right as a human being to change his mind.....Oh, I forgot, he's just a cardboard cutout wearing a nice suit.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 7:27pm

good bye greg, with your record we wondered why pport huron let you go. we wondered why yu never got the call upward. we wondered why you never coached during a game, and we wondered why players in private didnt say a lot aabout you. now we all know, so thanks for the memories and now you can take your act to chicago. i really hope your wife makes it big in acting and the two of you have great lives. now hopefully i can now go to a komet game with anticipation and an air of excitement instead of knowing that id see the same old bland stuff game after game. youre a decent guy and an ok coach, its just that you won a cup here and still you couldnt excite the fan base. i remember marc bouleiu(sp) had this team eating out of his hand, same with al sims, but you never gaave us the chance to warm up to you. now youre off the chicago and we get to have an exciting summer filled with anticipation. so good luck to you and thanks! now i just hope we beat the hell out of you every chance we get!!!!!

Hit Somebody!!!
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 7:31pm

Uh....nothing has changed you guys...the Frankes tell Greg what to do, and he does it. Nothing different here. He was on the hot seat....you get on the hot seat, and yes, you probably make a decision to move on. I think the right buttons were pushed for him to go. If they wanted him here, he would have stayed. Oh well, let the celebration continue...bring me some pretzels and beer, who stopped the music, Larry, put on something I can dance too....lol Super Fan wants a song by the Black Eyed Peas to dance to.

Tony E
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 7:36pm

Amelia, don't be afraid to post. As you can see we all don't agree on many issues but for the most part, there is enough respect for each other and for Blake to not lower this blog into personal flame wars.
Everyone here is passionate about the Komets.
It isn't their fault that they are wrong 99% of the time!!

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 7:43pm

They still had to give thier blessing on his departure.....So they made a "DECISION" also. Also saying that the Frankes didnt factor in the knowledge of the unhappiness of a growing segment of fans towards the lackluster play of the Komets under Puhalski is arrogant. They might have given it a thought or they might not have, the bottom line is that you or I will never know because they seem to do an excellent job of keeping dealings like this quiet. So give those of us a break if we are a little happy with Puhalskis departure because for us this type of change is good...

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 7:52pm

Wow, all kinds of stuff to read since I last viewed the blog.

I have some mixed feelings but I think its all for the best for everyone. Its been a long run with some of our players and the coach. Some changes are needed. His is obviously a great coach and a proven winner and I think if he can assemble what he needs to execute his system in Chicago then they will be a formidable team to watch. What goes unnoticed was even though this season did not turn out to be one to remember...it was probably his best coaching job of his Komets tenure. There was not alot of chirping about his style when things were good...
As for compensation, it is nice to dream but do we actually think we can get their best goalie or the league's best defenseman for Chief?

The draft results were solid I think. Reiter was a great choice. Jim Duhart was another great selection in terms of charactor and performance. I like the selection of MacMillan too. The big surprise was Matt Elich.

Now moving forward...lets not etch the Komets on the cup just yet or proclaim the return of the Jungle. Lets see which draft picks actually report, what kind of team the Franke's assemble, and whom we try and build around. I'd like to see both Colin and Lance back next season but personally I only think one of them will be here based on some things I have heard. I have some concerns on the blueline too.
As for the next coach.....who knows. I don't think I want a former Komet player or a former Komet coach. As a wishlist for the Yankees of the UHL...the Komet job should be considered "the" job in the AA ranks. I'd like to see a Steve Martinson-esque type hiring. Someone who has a proven track record of success, played the game and played with grit, has NHL bloodlines, stands behind his players 100%. This may be a biased opinion but the Franke's should be answering calls, not placing them.

Tony E
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 7:59pm

JR I accept that many people are happy to see him go. I just don't like the assertions that he was forced out because he wasn't. Sure the Frankes gave their blessing. They aren't going to keep a coach who doesn't want to stay!

Hit Somebody!!!
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 8:28pm

Do you know for sure that he wasn't feeling the pressure to move on? Don't be too sure that he wasn't showed the door...maybe he decided to walk out of the door...but I bet he was shown where it was. Things that are said in the media are not always the full story. I am sure Blake knows more of the behind the scenes things that have been going on that definitely needed some addressing. I also believe, those things should remain behind closed doors and not on here or in the paper. Some things are best dealt with out of the eye of the public for many reasons. That is all I will say. But you are allowed to have your opinion Tony. No one can stop you or should try.

Tony E
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 8:42pm

Hit I am of course aware of the possibility of your theories. You are very right in that the "dirty laundry" should be kept out of the public. That is part of the classy way the Frankes do business. They very rarely hang someone out to dry publicly.
Let's talk theories. Can you offer on regarding why this happened now? Why not sooner after the season was over?
For the record I am neither happy nor sad that a coaching change has been made. I think Puhalski could have done a fine job next year. However the thought of a new coach with new ideas is exciting too. The Komets won their only championship since I have been a fan of the team with this guy behind the bench. I respect the way he carried himself on the bench, not making a raving lunatic fool out of himself. He represented the team and the city with quiet class and dignity.

Now, like all of you I look forward to the next head coach coming in and continuing the fine tradition that is Komet Hockey. I am very excited about next season.

Hit Somebody!!!
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 9:12pm

I don't have an exact answer on why now...Same question is why would Rockford advertise for over 2 weeks that they would have a press conference on 6-7-06 to announce if Martinson was the coach or not? The timing thing must have to do with the meetings they just had, or maybe Chicago was waiting to make their announcement about their new coach and the Frankes honored their wishes to wait until now to tell us all. Sounds like this has been in the works though for at least weeks. Good questions though. I think the Frankes are very classy in how they handle the majority of their business...I say majority meaning 99% of it. I still hold that 1% for certain crap they release on certain players when they have left the team. I don't like that. But they are good about handling things. They handled this one really good "allowing" Greg to pursue another coaching job. At least that is how they painted it. And it was well painted. By both parties. No harm, no foul. They do have lots to do to fix this team on the ice, and off of it. They will get it done. Greg was the really the first piece. A no-brainer. You wanna change the overall nature of the team...the coach has to be a part of that...that is the facts.

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 9:17pm

I'm gonna throw my $0.02 in here...

Does it really matters what is said or not said. I really feel Puhlaski wasn't forced out. He would of been the coach of the Komets this coming season, if he wanted to be. The Frankes obviously loved him as a coach and person.

On the other hand, I'm estatic for the possibilities that lay ahead for this town and franchise. Greg is gone, lets not forget what he has done for the Fort Wayne Komets, and welcome in a new, fresh face. This is gonna be an exciting summer to see who the Frankes bring in, and who they sign for the upcoming season.

Hit Somebody!!!
Wed, 06/07/2006 - 9:31pm

Ok, if you guys say so, I won't argue it anymore...
But how do you honestly over-haul a team and change the look of it, if you leave the bozo in charge of the team in place? It would have been the same season as last year...a merry-go-round of players all year long trying out for the team to be molded into his system. No talent needed, just a bunch of sheep that obey and do what they are told. That is not entertaining hockey, at least not anymore...it was old.

You are right though...lets get on with the new Komet look and next season. Lets keep this party going...Pass me the chips and dip Super Fan. Larry, got any Floyd tunes we can listen to? Nevermind, I have every album they have done, I will pick the songs. How about a little "Sheep"!!! or "Shine on you crazy diamond"...

Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:46pm

Well, that pretty much blows my theory that Chuckitt was Puhalski's alias on here.

Kinda like Superman and Clark Kent.

Thu, 06/08/2006 - 5:13am

HS-think about this for a moment. If Puhalski was forced out then the Komets are not entitled to any compensation. Being forced out to me is the same as being fired. Chief asked if he could talk to Chicago, the Frankes said yes, Chief said Chicaog wants to hire him and the Frankes gave their blessings. I'm wiht Tony E on this one. I'm also with Tony E on I'm not happy or sad that he is leaving. I just hope whoever the K's can find does an equal job of coaching the team.

P.S. according to the JG, Troy has said he wants to continue playing and at this point not interested in the head coaching job.

Thu, 06/08/2006 - 6:11am

You know, Conspiracy Theory was one of the worst movies I ever saw.

Obviously, Komet Fan is in the tiny, tiny minority of blowhards that are out there. Blake, I liked your "yawn" response better than the next one you had.

As for Danton Cole. OK, he took the Bowling Green job, but at the time his Motor City team was folding and that job was available. Now, the Fort Wayne job opens up. Having not been at Bowling Green for long, maybe he would still consider this job. As far as stability goes, look at Puhalski. If Cole does a good job he can be here for years to come. I wouldn't count him out.

Thu, 06/08/2006 - 6:22am

joseph- I origianlly thought that Cole might be a decent choice as well. The Frankes have said though that they will loo for some one with experience and I'm not so sure that Cole would qulaify at this point.

Thu, 06/08/2006 - 6:40am

he may have been forced out and now was the time because since he had a year left on his contract , it took him this long to find another job, and as for compensation, all ive ever seen is that a few dollars pass hands, very rarely does a player actually move. so forced out or nudged or done on his own to help his wife, it doesnt matter. he will go down as a good komet coach becasue after awile only thing that will remain will be his numbers and they stack up pretty high. so lets put it to bed and start speculating who the next coach will be and get on with hockey stuff. bye greg and lets not ever use his name in the blogs again!!!! lets move forward!!! charge!! hey skate, #@*(&^$&%^*++!!

Thu, 06/08/2006 - 6:42am


Danton Cole would most defintely qualify, he coach Muskegon to a Colonial Cup championship back in 2002, the moved on to Grand Rapids before being fired half thru the 2004-05 season, then he took over Motor City for the last season and half, Danton Cole is well qualified for this position.

Thu, 06/08/2006 - 6:43am

I will disagree. 2 years as an assistant in the IHL and 4 years as a head coach with three of those in the AHL. 181-107 record.
Lost in the first round, out of the playoffs, lost in semi finals and won a championship in his 4 years. PLayed over 300 games in the NHL. He's 40 years old. I think he's experienced enough.

It's worth a shot to see if he would consider it


Thu, 06/08/2006 - 6:51am

I did say I wasn't so Sure, but I could be wrong. I must admit I'm not up on the coaches as much as the players.

Thu, 06/08/2006 - 7:10am

Guys this wasn't some last-second deal. The rumor has been out there ever since the team joined the UHL because it made so much sense with his wife's career. It was just continually denied. Several times this year the Frankes told me Greg could coach here as long as he wanted. This was his choice with their blessing. Another reason I've been told they couldn't say anything is because of the compensation. My guess is the league has said they can't talk about that until the league meetings for some reason.

Honest to God, there is no conspiracy here, but I guess you'd think that by denying any conspiracy I'm giving it credibility. This goes back to my reputation. You either believe me or you don't. I slept great last night because my conscience is clear.

And did you hear? There are supposed to be WMDs in Iraq! Talk about conspiracy theories.

Thu, 06/08/2006 - 7:21am

What's the big secret as to the compenstation. If the deal is done it's done. The question for me would be are the Komets getting or not getting a player from Chicago and if so will the value of that player be equal to the value of Puhalski?