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Tailing the Komets

Snow day topic

Favorite Komet of all-time and why.


Wed, 02/05/2014 - 1:04pm

Of all the players I have seen who have donned a Fort Wayne Komet uniform, my absolute number one favorite would be Brian Walker.

Brian Walker was a center for the '72-73 Turner Cup winning team.  He was a polished, smooth skating player.  He did everything and made it look easy.

Most won't even remember him but he was so skillful that he made everyone better on the ice.  He was so good that no matter what I write, it would be an understatement.

That next off season, he was struck by a car, damaging his hip.  He came back to Fort Wayne for a time, had some success, but was never the same.  It was such a shame.  I contend that he would've been someone who would've climbed the ladder to the NHL.

There were NO weak points to his game, just a complete player who was well respected by his team mates. 

As with any Turner Cup team, there were a lot of good players.  But Brian Walker was great.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 1:42pm

Len Thornson... he is at the top of my list. If there had been more than 6 NHL teams, I'm sure he would have played there for many years.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 2:57pm

Off topic....
What's the word on the Orlando deal?

I've come to the conclusion that there are no "future considerations" from Orlando for Lang. Orlando completed the deal, the player just didn't report.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 3:59pm

Alan, I do remember Brian Walker and the '73 championship team. Yes, he was a great player who when he came back for round two, played with my favorite player of all time, Robbie Laird. "Robo" was one tough cookie! Even though he was on the small side, Robbie would not back down from anyone. He was part of the "Western Union" line, playing with Terry McDougall and Rob Tudor, which was one of the most successful lines in Komets history. As most know, Robbie went on to coach the K's as well, adding to his achievements. Today he works for the LA Kings as Director of minor league scouting. The Komets even named one of their end of season awards after him - the "Mr. Hustle" award. I just wish players today played the game like Robbie did back then. Those were the days!

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 4:04pm

John Anderson hands down. Part of the line with Boudreau and Lonnie Loach. Anderson scored over 200 goals while in the NHL. He was big, fast, and strong. Best player ever to put on a Komet jersey.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 4:23pm

Don't ask me why I said Rob Tudor! Should have said Al Dumba. Sorry about that. My brain is fizzling with all this snow!

Blake Sebring
Wed, 02/05/2014 - 4:26pm

Watch Inside The Zone where we talk about Orlando deal. Other than that, nothing new.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 5:11pm

A player overlooked often but I loved watching him play was Mitch Messier.  At one time one of the bars in a concourse at the detroit airport was ALL Mitch Messier memorabilia. He had a steller career at MSU. He was by far one of the best players in the old IHL ( early-mid 90's)when he was healthy. 

Jimmy Hrychuck(sp) was an equal with Walker on that 73 team.  

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 5:40pm

RG2, you are correct.  When Jim Hrychiuk was sent to Fort Wayne everything seemed to blend together.  Many times I remarked how similar they were in skill.  The only reason I didn't mention him was because he came here late in the season.  But his presence made a big difference as it allowed Marc Boileau to make the most of his personnel.  Great times, great memories, and I still catch myself looking over to old section 7  (where I sat) during games recalling that wonderful year.

There were so many good players on that team.  One that I think many have forgotten was Chick Balon.  A skilled winger who could score, didn't start fights but sure finished them, and it seemed the Turner Cup followed him wherever he played!

By the way, as a Cincinnati Reds fan my radio dial was always set on WLW.  Hrychiuck, the next year, played for the Cincinnati Swords (AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres) and I listened to many of his games.

Only four defensemen on the '72-'73 team.  Cal Purinton, Terry Thompson, Terry Pembroke, and Jimmy Pearson (probably one of the top five offensive defensemen ever toplay for the K's).

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 5:54pm

Jim Pearson did not belong in that league. He was a great d.  His impact on that team was  similar to that of Jean Marc Richard 20 years later.  if you are going to bring up the 72-73 team, I know this get said often but never gets old, Bob Fitchner challenging the whole Flint bench in the  semi finals of the Turner Cup. You wont see that anymore.  What a  great Komet memory  

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 5:56pm

I have many favorites but I think you really had to see Len Thornson play to appreciate his talent and skills with a puck. He handled the puck like it was stuck to his stick. If you played on his line you need to be ready for the puck at anytime.  When talking about Defenseman you can not leave out Terry Pemproke or Lionel Repka. I guess I am really dating myself but you just needed to see thos men play the game.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 7:58pm

just a thought: I've always felt we were amazed, infatuated, mesmerized by the coming of the Soviet players. It was fun watching Igor, Vlady and the MIG line etc. The moves, the scoring and stickhandling skills and ability.

And yet when you go back and re-watch a lot of the video you'll realize we had that player here the whole time and possibly never fully appreciated his skills, polish and magic carrying the puck and working around the net.

And best yet, he was a home-grown talent......."Captain" Colin Chin

Bravo Chinner

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 8:51pm

favorite player based on skill.....len thornson.  favorite player based on guts....cal purinton.  favorite komet of all time.....steve fletcher.   this was a guy who always changed the swing of a game just by stepping on the ice. he put people in the seats  and did it to in oponents arenas.  people wanted to see steve play and he sledom disapointed anyone.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:28pm

Len Thornson was NHL caliber and Eddie Long was tons of hustle with skill. And talk about dating oneself, Con Madigan was nasty. For skill and toughness, how about John Ferguson? Goal scorers? Dubchak and Scully For dtTleadership, none better than Chaulker!

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 10:59am

Through other posts commenting on other subjects, I have mentioned before that I saw my first Komet game in 1961 at the age of nine.  Sat in the "upper arena" in old section 9.

I consider myself very, very fortunate because I have seen all of these wonderful players who have contributed so many terrific memories.

This thread was a wonderful idea because it gave us all a chance to sit back, think, and recall so many great times.  I would never even try to disagree nor try to compare the former stars.  Part of the wonderful fabric of Komet hockey is the "blanket" that is its rich history.  Like a quilt, Komet hockey contains many patches, and without even one, lessens the strength of the whole.

To me, one interesting part of Komet hockey is the different eras it has comprised.  The journey has led us to many paths, pre NHL expansion and beyond.  And except for one exceptionally disturbing moment, the original Fort Wayne Komet franchise existed in the hockey world even when  most hockey cities (and sometimes entire leagues were disappearing).

The Franke's, buying the Flint Spirit franchise and moving it here, kept the continuation of Fort Wayne Komet hockey alive without missing a beat.

As I remember all of the "old" times, I have to remind myself sometimes to remember that fact.

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 6:13pm

Been going since 1989. My top 3 in no particular order are: Grant Richison, Sean Venedam, and Konstantin Shafranov. The first two guys were the ultimate team players, never took nights off, hit consistently, and could and would do anything you asked them to. When somebody asks me the best game I ever saw a Komet have, I refer back to the 2003 playoffs in the semifinals I watch Sean Venedam score 4 goals and have 2 assists on a Sunday night in front of about 4500 people. He controlled the entire game and got to the open spots all night and Chaulk found him every time.

As for Shaf, what more can you say other than he played on a line with Brett Hull. The guy is the ultimate sportsman and I am really glad he is back in the fold.

Ron Heathman
Thu, 02/06/2014 - 9:05pm

Its a impossible thing to chose as there are reasons for every name thats mentioned. I think as fans we watch and remember hockey differantly now. We tend to gloryfy the older players of yesteryear just because we saw them for longer time periods, sometimes for over a decade. Todays hockey is different  just because the players who are really good aren't around for very long so we tend to forget the super talented ones that were here for 20 or so games or maybe only a season. Two names that jump out at you (there are more) are Justin Hodgeman and Corey Elkins for starters.

This so much fun reliving some of the great names of Komet history. I have seen every player mentioned on this blog and estimate I have seen over 1300 Komet games. One name that isn't mentioned often because most of you aren't old enough is Bobby Rivard whom we got from the Indianapolis Chiefs. A little guy who played center and was possibly the fastest skater ever here in Ft Wayne. Look up his stats...incredible

I'm just throwing out his name for you "newbies" ( anyone with less than 3 decades of Komet hockey enjoyment) LOL ! .....Look up some of the Komets of that era and and there are some big name and picture a 1 lap race...Rivard was always 10 ft faster than the closest


Ron Heathman
Thu, 02/06/2014 - 9:40pm

Alan i see you mentioned Chic Balon. A real razzle dazzle player and good player. I always felt he was one of the best until he got to the attacking zone and then for some reason all that speed and dazzle didn't click. It seemed loke it didn't come together as a Komet, only when he played against us ! lol !

Ron Heathman
Thu, 02/06/2014 - 9:58pm

Hey Chuckitt ! One of those great fan moments involving Fletcher came after he retired and later came back for one more time against Kalamazoo and the Wings new tough guy thought the old tough guy was washed up and was going to show the FtW fans how he was goin to kick ass. Boy did he get his eyes opened up ! It was joyous bedlum in the jungle ! 

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 10:15pm

i agree ron!  funny thing about that game was i think steve could have gotten in shape and came back and actually held his own in that league.  footnote on bobby rivard.. he had two tours with the komets! 

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 10:51pm

I always thought it was fun to watch Chick Balon come out on the ice before the game. He always wore ankle weights. After awhile, he'd take 'em off and go zooming around. It was impressive.

The whole 72-73 team was special. Irons, Fitchner, Walker, Wayne Ego, Purinton, Ullyot, Pembrooke, etc. I really enjoyed watching Darcy Keating. Chaser used to call 'em Keating's "velvet hammers".  Boileau also got called up to be head coach of the Pittsburg Penguins. The Fort Wayne Komet Boosters organized a bus trip to watch a Penguins/Flyers game. It was in the height of the Broad Street bully era. Good trip for those of us sober enough to remember. 




Thu, 02/06/2014 - 11:13pm

My favorite player would be Dale Baldwin. He was a great character player who did all the little things to help a team win. He played well defensively, win faceoffs, stand up for team mates, and do a little scoring too. Most nights he was given the other team's top player to defend and did it well most nights. My favorite goalie would be Nick Boucher. All the championships speak for themselves.

Sat, 02/08/2014 - 12:50pm

What no Bobby Rivard?  Awesome player.