Needing to make a roster move to get down to the United Hockey League maximum before this weekend's games, the Fort Wayne Komets traded enforcer and UHL Komets penalty minute record holder Jeff Worlton on Wednesday to Roanoke for future considerations.
The Komets will be able to pick a player from a list provided by Roanoke before the UHL trade deadline of March 14
“It was a tough decision,'' Komets General Manager David Franke said. “We just haven't been able to find the ice time lately for Jeff, and Roanoke expressed a strong interest in him. With the change of the rules, there just isn't that much fighting that's going on in the league anymore. There's a premium on skating ability and all-around play. We just couldn't get the ice time to Jeff that we know he would have liked.
“He did everything for us that we asked him to. He never complained about his ice time or lack of ice time. We just felt it was time to make the change.''
Worlton, 26, was in his 5th pro year and 2nd season with the Komets. Last year the right winger posted 2 goals and 4 points in 68 games while establishing a new Fort Wayne UHL record of 372 penalty minutes. This season Worlton appeared in 20 games registering no points and 83 penalty minutes with the Komets.
In mid-December, Worlton was placed on a team suspension to make room on the roster for other players and he wasn't activated until Jan. 1. Since then, he's seen very limited ice time.
Worlton was upset with the trade. He talked with Komets coach Greg Puhalski two weeks ago, and Puhalski said at the time he felt Worlton would remain with the Komets.
“I hadn't been playing a lot and I never said anything negative,'' Worlton said. “I never complained about ice time. You can ask anybody. I was a cheerleader on the bench, and I did my job. I was fine doing what I was doing, but they said they don't have any room for me. I'm still a little stunned by all of this.''
Puhalski said he appreciated what Worlton had done for the Komets, but it was time to look in a different direction.