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Face-off: 8 p.m. Friday
Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM
For being rookies, Komets fans did an amazing job Sunday night with the team's first Teddy Bear Toss. It took awhile, but by the time each bear and stuffed animal was brushed, cleaned up and counted Monday night, there were 1,692 of them.
That's better than 1,000 more than the biggest donation the Disorderly Bear Den of Good Bears of the World has ever received. Thanks to help from the players,and a lot of volunteers, the cleanup took less than 10 minutes.
"The Komets Teddy Bear Toss was a huge success!'' said local den founder and treasurer Donna Gordon-Hearn "The Disorderly Bear Den appreciates the opportunity given to us to receive these 1,692 teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Every one of these items will be gifted to a child in a trauma situation or a lonely adult. It is heart-warming to see their smiles and this can make a huge difference in their lives.''
For a little perspective, the local den usually gives out between 1,500 and 2,500 bears per year. All the bears will be distributed in the local area.
"The results were fantastic for the first season, and we think it will only continue to grow,'' said Komets executive vice president and co-owner Scott Sproat. "The best part of all of that is the real boost that it gives to the Disorderly Bear Den. We're thrilled to have found a local organization that Komet fans can adopt as their own and really make an impact in our community. Once again... the Krowd comes through in a big way.”
The Komets honored the passing last week of longtime coach, general manager and owner Ken Ullyot by wearing a patch with his initials, KDU, on their uniforms. The "D'' is for Duncan, which is also the name of his great-grandson Duncan Welker.
No one is absolutely positive, but it's likely this is only the second time the Komets have ever worn the initials of someone on their jerseys. Even 61-year radio announcer Bob Chase and original Komets George Drysdale and Eddie Long can't remember anyone else.
The first time was for Anne C. Franke, the mother of the Franke brothers who own the team. She passed in 1991, and the team wore ACF until they won the Turner Cup in 1993.
The Komets will wear KDU for the rest of the season.
There were lots of fun stories told over the last week about Ullyot, but here's one more:
During a mid-1960s training camp, two rookies came into the training room one day complaining of having colds and not feeling well. They didn't think they should practice.
Ullyot told the players he had just the thing, reaching up on a shelf to grab a bottle of pills he told the players was left by the team doctor for just such an occurrence.
"Now these yellow pills will take care of the cough, and the red ones will take care of the fever,'' Ullyot said. "You have to make sure to swallow them whole because if you bite into them they can make you sick.''
The players took the pills and went out and skated an excellent practice, easily their best of training camp. So the next day they returned looking for more pills.
All they could find was a bottle of M&M's.
Komets winger Brandon Marino has been named to the 2013-14 ECHL Fantasy Team as voted on by fans at the league website. Individual players were selected from each of the league's 22 teams and will wear special ECHL Fantasy Team jerseys in specific games. Marino's game will be Jan. 17 against Elmira.
The goaltenders will also wear special jerseys in games that will be specified later. If the winning skater is unable to play in the game he's been selected for, the second-place vote-getter on each team will wear the special jersey.
Along with scoring three goals over the weekend, Komets forward Chris Auger got to celebrate his 26th birthday Monday. He has scored 10 points over his last six games... Auger linemate Scott Fleming has also been very hot of late with 10 points in his last six games. He's currently second among ECHL rookies... Over the last four weeks, the Komets have lowered their team plus-minus rating from minus-89 to minus-41. Brandon Marino has made the biggest move individually, going from minus-11 to even over the last six games... The Komets have killed off the last 10 power-play chances against them to climb to third in the ECHL ranking at 89.8 percent... Though they hold down fourth place, the Komets have actually been the North Division's hottest team over the last 10 games with a 5-3-2 record... Since they were shut out in Kalamazoo on Nov. 29, the Komets have scored 24 goals over their next six games and have gone 4-2... Don't forget Komets Kare Package takes place in the first three home games after Christmas.