Updated: Friday, 18 May 2012, 12:47 AM EDT
Published : Thursday, 17 May 2012, 4:01 PM EDT
CLICK ON THE VIDEO TAB FOR THURSDAY'S PRESS CONFERENCE ALONG WITH INTERVIEWS FROM MICHAEL FRANKE, DAVID FRANKE, ECHL COMMISSIONER BRIAN MCKENNA, BOB CHASE, COLIN CHAULK, AND AL SIMS.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - After weeks of speculation the Komets made their move official on Thursday afternoon, as Fort Wayne is making the jump from the Central Hockey League to the ECHL.
The Komets join the ECHL after just two seasons in the CHL. Fort Wayne clinched the Presidents' Cup last Monday night at the Coliseum.
A variety of factors played into the decision. That includes renewing rivalries with Toledo, Cincinnati, and Kalamazoo. The Evansville Icemen also made the jump from the CHL to the ECHL on Thursday, adding fuel to a budding rivalry.
The Komets will now play a 72-game regular season schedule in the ECHL - that's six more games then they played last season in the CHL. It means three more home dates for the Komets and their fans.
The ECHL also appears more stable than the CHL. The CHL could be down to as many as 12 teams after the recent defections, while the ECHL could have 23 teams next season.
The Komets could also land an affiliation with an NHL or AHL, as many ECHL teams do have one. The Komets had an agreement with the Columbus Blue Jackets two years ago, but may choose to remain independent.
The ECHL also means a shift in terms roster philosophy. The ECHL allows only four roster spots for veteran players (goalies excluded) as opposed to a higher number in the IHL and CHL. That means less "well known" Komets will be able to stay on the roster for next season. It also means a younger roster that could genuinely include player that could play on the AHL and, perhaps, NHL level.
Along with announcing the move to the ECHL, the Komets have also re-signed head coach Al Sims. The Komets have also confirmed that Bob Chase will be back for his 60 th season of doing play-by-play.
Ground rules for posting comments: No profanity or personal attacks. No racially charged comments. If it's not something you would say to someone's face, it's most likely inappropriate. Please comment on the subject of the story itself. If you do not follow these rules, we will remove your post. Repeat offenders will be banned from making future comments. Keep it civil, folks! WANE is not responsible for the content posted in this comment section.