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Tailing the Komets

What the Frankes said

Michael Franke:

``This wasn't a horse race. This is the guy right here. He knows the Komet way, and he understands what needs to be done in the ECHL.

``We have done a tremendous amount of scouting since Feb. 1 in the ECHL and the AHL, and we feel that we are totally  prepared moving into the 2013-14 season.

``In the long run, his knowledge of the Komet operations is immense. He knows the way things are done here. He knows what the fans expect, and that's very, very important. He understands that our fans want to see a team that gives 110 percent every night. He's got the wherewithal in his arsenal of recruiting to be able to hold players accountable, and if they aren't giving 110 percent they aren't going to be here very long.

``Recruiting is his strength. The bottom line is Gary will work hard every day. He wants to better himself, and my hope for him is that he's very successful here and that he can move up the ladder down the road.

``He knows the Komet way and that's very, very important. There's a lot of learning curve coming into a job like this, and he's going to cut that learning curve probably by 90 percent. He's excited to be here. This is like a dream job for him, and now it's up to me and Dave to make sure that he's successful as coach of the Komets. I have all the confidence in the world that he'll do that.

``We talked to a lot of candidates, and how can you overlook what he has accomplished for us here, and then what he did last year by basically taking a head coaching job, constructing a team, Fort Wayne ripped it apart with some other teams, he got guys to come in and fill the bill for him, and to me more impressively, guys wanted to go back when their season was over and win a championship with Gary.''

David Franke

``He has a passion for the game which all the Frankes do. We have a great relationship with him in the four years that he was here with the Komets. He knows the type of team that we want, the style of play that we want, and it fits how he wants to build his team. We know him, he knows us. He knows what being a Komets coach is all about. He understands the pressures. He was through the pressures with us as an assistant and last year in Pensacola. I think he'll do fine.

``I've had a couple of meetings with him over the last couple of weeks or so. I think it's going to be a process now of getting on the phone. Gary has a strong work ethic. He's very well-spoken, and he'll be a great representative of the Komets. I think any player coming to Fort Wayne this year whether it be a returning player or new players will be in for an exciting ride with Gary because he's a winner, and I'm hoping he'll turn us back into a winner, too.

``Gary learned a lot from the Komets organization.... I think the synergy that Gary and myself have, the relationship that we have, the passion we have for the Komets is going to bode well for us.

``He was the front-runner all along. He lives and breathes hockey. His age, I think is a benefit. He's got his whole coaching future ahead of him. He's not tired or burned out, he's not anything but energy, energy, energy, and he knows how to translate that into what he wants his players to do. Our guys who were with us at the end of the season last year, they left early to get back to Pensacola because they wanted to help Gary win a championship. I think that speaks volumes about a coach. We weren't going to make the playoffs, and they could have made a little more money here by finishing out the season, but they wanted to go back and help the coach and win a championship. That says a lot about who Gary is.''

Neither Franke would comment on who else was a candidate for the position.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 5:35pm

Agree, agree and agree....he knows the organization and it's expectations....lets all give him a chance....best of luck Gary.....I for one am looking forward to your career here and your player choices.  Best of everything.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 7:06pm

All this means is that Graham will say yes to the Franke's more than any of the candidates. If they knew he was the coach all along then why not announce it? I would like to know who the other applicants were because you can imagine some had pretty good resumes. Hopefully we aren't in for another year of boring, politically correct hockey in the "petting zoo".

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 7:10pm

Sooooooo, beyond he knew us and we knew him, there is no other box checked off.... Gotcha.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 7:23pm

What aresenal of recruiting does he have in the ECHL or AHL?  Just curious?

Best of luck to Graham...after a terrible 1st season, he had better hit a home run this season with players and style of play...

Will the Frankes keep their hands out of the cookie jar this year and let him do his own thing???

justin k
Tue, 06/04/2013 - 8:04pm

So seeing that he has no hockey experience (Sims played in the NHL), All I see is a rah rah guy but you need systems to win in the ECHL, you have t0o be able to adapt your syestms night in night out if you want to win a championship at this lever, Its a coaching game from now on, and I dont think the Franks understand that. Oh well, you cant just play dump and chace, but we will see, And it will start soon with the type of players that he recruits, Iwouldnt see alot of AHL level players jumping at a chance to play for a guy that has no hockey backround and never coached at this level no matter how much he rah rahs.

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 8:06pm

INCREDIBLE, FLABERGASTED, SHOCKED, STUNNED ,you name it. Frankes spoke in nothing but generalities like: Komet way, type of team we want, knows what being a Komet coach is all about. I am a season ticket holder and I have no clue what any of that means. If it means that doing whatever the GM wants then I guess thats it. I am frankly confused. I hope he does well and maybe he will. He is just so inexperienced at this level. Most of us have a lot of bucks invested in this team by being season ticket holders and I just want the best possible coach. I hope Gary is. However, the lack of experience scares the heck out of me. Good luck, Gary.

Primeval Forest Primate (Formerly JM)
Wed, 06/05/2013 - 10:08am

Fort Wayne used to have a tradition that would have pulled in seasoned coaches that had won at a level comparable to or higher than the current league. 


Now Fort Wayne is a place to "give him a chance"? 


Refusing to name any other candidates tells me that there weren't any. Kaminski had to call multiple times just to be refused an interview. 


I'm not down on Gary, I hope he does well. He just wasn't the best choice available to the Komets and having a process that looks settled before it begins makes people question the intent. 

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 11:48am

Let me throw this out there...

Gary as Assistant Coach...team did VERY well...

Gary gone last year...team sucked and there was NO player movement.

Maybe...just maybe...someone got a litte too much credit, that should have been shared around.

And, you're right...only people who played professionally can coach...like...Ken Hitchcock...or Mike Keenan.

What was Gretzky's coaching record?

Anne Argast
Wed, 06/05/2013 - 1:32pm

I think the only thing we need to worry about with Gary Graham is whether he'll still be our coach in two years. He is ambitious, and after teams in the higher leagues learn how good he is I can imagine him leaving Fort Wayne for the AHL and beyond. He is motivated, hockey smart and hard working. The ECHL is all about finding and developing talent. Graham can teach, and can himself learn and get better. Komets hockey will do just fine during the Graham era.


Wed, 06/05/2013 - 4:51pm

Who didn't give credit to Gary Graham? Both Sims and the Frankes have praised him the past few years. Gary may very well do great here..but implying this year sucked because Graham left is nonsense.

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 6:40pm

I will say that I am much more excited for the season then I was yesterday. He seems very well liked and appreciated by his players....and Sims had only good things to say regarding him being the Komets coach. He has my support and I am ready to watch a great season.

Matt Allen
Thu, 06/06/2013 - 9:51am

"Refusing to name any other candidates tells me that there weren't any. Kaminski had to call multiple times just to be refused an interview"

Let me guess that was the same Kaminski coached team (Louisiana) in the SPHL they got beat by the lowest ranked team to make the playoffs!!! So then Grahams team beats that team (Huntsville) and wins the championship.

I have to say with all the logic that is on these blogs then Graham is the better coach. Looks like the Ks made the right move by not talking to Kaminski....

Thu, 06/06/2013 - 11:33am

Blind suport for a coach (or a team for that matter) that has accomplished nothing at the ECHL level does not prove anything either.  Where is the logic in that?

Blake has even touched on this...  This hire, right now, is a stretch...it can either go very well or it can fail miserably...

If it goes well, the Frankes will look like geniuses...if it fails, there is no one left to blame; but themselves...

For this fan's sake, I hope this hire goes well....

Primeval Forest Primate (Formerly JM)
Fri, 06/07/2013 - 7:58am

So hand picking one SPHL coach (with players provided by the Komets) and not giving another SPHL coach the time of day is acceptable. 

Kaminski has 14 years of coaching under his belt. Two as an AHL assistant. 

I'm not  saying Kaminski should have gotten the job, in fact I wouldn't hire him. But based on his resume and Graham's you'd think Kaminski would have gotten an interview at minimum. 

The point is just being made that this was a forgone conclusion when Al "retired". Graham was their guy all along. This nonsense about 6 candidtates is just that..... Nonsense.

Anne Argast
Fri, 06/07/2013 - 2:43pm

Just curious, does any of this matter? Gary Graham is now coach of one of the most successful franchises in minor league sports. Who cares (and who actually knows) who was, and who wasn't considered?

Fri, 06/07/2013 - 7:26pm

Ann, so far you are the only that makes an intelligent post on the hiring of a new coach!!!