Komets' retired numbers
2 Guy Dupuis
5 Terry Pembroke
6 Lionel Repka
11 Len Thornson
12 Reg Primeau
16 Eddie Long
18 Rob Laird
26 Colin Chin
30 Robbie Irons
40 Bob Chase
58 Ken Ullyot
59 Colin Lister
77 Steve Fletcher
The Komets will add No. 1 for Chuck Adamson and No. 33 for Nick Boucher to their retired banners gallery Saturday. It's a tremendous honor for them, rekindling memories for everyone else.
But as much as Adamson and Boucher's hearts will be racing Saturday night, the honor won't mean as much to them as it will later when they and the fans have had time to digest it, reflect on and be able to look at the rafters for the constant reminder.
To get an idea what that reflection is like, we asked some of the 14 men who have had their names lifted to the rafters what the experience has meant to them. Part of what makes the situation so unique is that it means something different to each person, and no other minor league club has honored so many.
Eddie Long: "It didn't sink in right away. The older you get, you appreciate it more. You think about all the guys who were here over 61 years, and being the first one up was something else, too. People still recognize you, and it's great to see it means to your family. It's a combination of everything it means.''
Len Thornson: "My number was retired the same time when I was retired. At that time I didn't think that much about it. There was no ceremony. It was just put up. Ken (Ullyot) said, 'Well, I think we'll put your jersey up there,' and that was about the size of it.''
Robbie Irons: "The first word that comes into my mind are longevity and pride in your game, knowing that you've been recognized by players, the management and the fans. The accomplishment of being among all the other ones who have done the same things over the years, you look back and think, 'It was me who did that,' and I'm very proud of it.''
Terry Pembroke: "The neatest part for the particular franchise is that they've had to play in almost every minor pro league, with the exception of the NHL and the AHL. There's been that thread of looking at the team as a minor pro franchise without putting the label A or AA or AAA on it. The bottom line is for the people who are up there, not having played in the show, it still gives you a sense of accomplishment to be recognized by your peers and the fans and the club. You did good. I might not have played in the show, but I was able to survive down here, which believe it or not was harder sometimes than playing in the show.''
Ken Ullyot: "It meant people aren't going to forget. I'm very proud that they'll take an ugly name like mine. I think you should be proud of any recognition you get after you are finished so people can remember you.''
Lionel Repka: "It's very humbling and surprising as the years go by how many people mention it to you. It's out of the blue a lot of times. You might meet a guy at the golf course, or at church or the grocery and all of a sudden they say something to you about it. The older I get the more I'm amazed that so many people recognize you for it. It makes you feel good.''
Steve Fletcher: "You see the players who are up there, and it's quite an honor to be with them. You sit down and start thinking, 'do I deserve to be up there? There were a lot of great hockey players who played here.' When you are up there, it's like, wow, wow. It was a wow then and it's still a wow. To know no one wears that number again is truly an honor. I think that is just as high if not higher than having your banner up there.''
Guy Dupuis: "It doesn't mean more now than it did then, but it's really special. Personally, I find that other people notice it more than I do. Other people bring it to my attention and then I look at it. It's neat that the kids can look up there and see their dad's number up there. I know it's special for them, too. It was one of the really great moments of my life.''
Colin Chin: "Being from Fort Wayne and growing up here and getting to watch some of the early ones play, I think it has a little more significance for me. When I go to games, seeing my number up there with those guys is a pretty neat thing. I'll look over there and it's kind of cool knowing how long the history is. It's a pretty small community who have had that privilege.''