For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog at www.tailingthekomets.com.
Gwinnett at Komets
Faceoff: 8 p.m. Friday
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM
Komets fans who were lucky enough to avoid the two-hour traffic jam outside Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo last Friday got to see something even more special than a great hockey game. The Wings and Komets battled to a 0-0 tie through regulation, something that has happened only seven times in the Fort Wayne franchise's 61-year history.
The other times it has happened were Feb. 23, 1960, at. St. Paul; Feb. 27, 1971, at Port Huron; Feb. 16, 1986, against Kalamazoo; Dec. 27, 2003, at Flint; Dec. 4, 2004, at Muskegon; and Jan. 9, 2011, against Quad City. In other words, the Komets are 2-4-1. They won the games in 1960 and 2004, and there was no overtime played in the 1971 game.
Speaking of unique numbers, the Komets will play their 4,500th regular-season game against Evansville on Nov. 9 at home. The Komets are 2318-1731-445 all-time during the regular season.
The dates for this year's Komets Kare Package will be the home games Dec. 16, 19 and 22. The program helps support our troops by asking fans to donate items, which are then shipped overseas to Indiana people serving in our armed forces.
This year, for the first time, fans can drop off old cellphones at all Preferred Auto dealerships. We'll collect the cellphones and then use them to receive phone cards, which we will send to the troops to use.
Some hockey teams set up their locker rooms by having all the defensemen sit in one area or all the forwards sit together in three-man groups to signify their line combinations. All the Komets swear long-time equipment manager Joe Franke has some formula for setting up their locker room.
The Komets' veterans are spread to the four corners of the room, and almost all the rookies sit next to a veteran. Franke says he just puts the returning players into their old spots and then fills in around them. If there's a pattern, it's not on purpose.
Franke protégé Billy Welker, a former Komets stickboy and now equipment manager for Huntsville of the Southern Professional Hockey League, has a few tricks for designing the room layout.
``You know how superstitious Billy is,'' said Komets forward Brett Smith, who won a title two years ago with Welker in Bossier-Shreveport. ``If we were winning, he kept it together, but if we went on a losing streak, he'd switch it sometimes.''
The Toledo Walleye announced a couple weeks ago they will host the ECHL's first-ever outdoor game during the 2014-15 season. The game will be held at Fifth Third Field, home of the Mud Hens, as part of ProMedica Toledo Hospital presents the Toledo Walleye Winterfest 2014. ECHL sources have hinted there's a chance the Walleye might play two outdoor games depending upon the ticket sales leading up to the first game. The event is going to run Dec. 26-Jan. 4.
What can the Komets do to have a chance to participate? Strong attendance by Fort Wayne fans in Toledo this year would certainly gain some attention, but unfortunately the Komets play only four games in Toledo, including a 10:30 a.m. game Nov. 7.
According to an Evansville Courier & Journal report, the 1-year-old Ford Center is expected to lose $300,000 in its first year and $341,000 in its second. What can the arena do to possibly help that bottom line? How about giving the IceMen the break on some schedule dates? Currently, the University of Evansville men's basketball team gets priority in the building.
The IceMen averaged 4,882 fans last year for 33 home dates, compared to the Purple Aces averaging 5,260, but that included home games against Butler and Indiana, which inflated the average. The IceMen averaged 8,107 for five Saturday home games compared to the Purple Aces drawing 5,456 for eight Saturday home dates.
The Central Hockey League has taken control of running Quad City. ... Former Komet Pascal Morency has signed with Arizona of the CHL. ... Former Komets goaltender Gerry Festa has signed with Dayton of the Federal Hockey League. ... Besides former assistant coach Gary Graham taking over in Pensacola, the Komets have lots of ties in the Southern Professional Hockey League, including Kevin Kaminski coaching Louisiana and Billy Welker serving as equipment manager in Huntsville where he works with Dan McWhinney. Leo Thomas and T.J. Miller are also playing in Pensacola, which picked up John Dunbar, Pat Knowlton and Jeremy Gates out of the Komets' training camp. ... The pocket schedules show the Nov. 3 game in Kalamazoo as starting at 7:30 p.m., but it has been moved to a 3 p.m. faceoff.