FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Komets announced that Jamie Schaafsma, Curtis Leonard and Taylor Crunk have each re-signed for the 2017-18 season. Komet general manager David Franke signed all three players before the ECHL’s June 30 deadline of making Qualifying Offers to players from the season ending roster, but waited to announce until after the July 4th holiday.
Schaafsma, 34, will be returning for his third season at center for the Komets. Last year the Chatham, Ontario native served as captain and player/assistant coach while contributing 17 goals, 45 assists and 62 points in 53 games and earning Fort Wayne’s True Komet Award.
The upcoming campaign will be Schaafsma’s 14th pro season since he made his pro debut in the Holland elite league with Geleen in 2004-05. The skater has spent seven seasons during his career with various teams in Europe capturing two Dutch Beker Cup championships with Netherlands and adding the Italy Championship with Bolzano before leading Netherlands to a World Championship in 2009.
“A very integral part of the team, it was important to re-sign our captain and player assistant coach,” Franke said. “Jamie had a productive year last season and we look for his play and leadership to show over the long season.”
Schaafsma has appeared the last five seasons in the United States winning three straight league championships with Allen including the 2013 and 2014 CHL Presidents’ Cup and the 2015 ECHL Kelly Cup.
Leonard, 24, will be starting his third season with the Komets. The Napanee, Ontario native made his pro debut skating one AHL game with Rochester and five ECHL games with Reading in 2014-15. The defenseman shared the 2015-16 season with Reading, Evansville and Fort Wayne before scoring career highs of four goals, 13 assists and 17 points in 65 games with the Komets last season.
“Curtis really came into his own last season,” Franke said. “His defensive play was exactly what we were looking for. It’s nice to know Curtis will be patrolling the blue line this season for the Komets.”
Prior to turning pro, Leonard posted a four-year collegiate career with R.P.I. where he was selected to the ECAC All-Academic Team in 2011-12 and 2012-13. In 2013-14 he led R.P.I. defensemen with 12 points (1g, 11a) and in 2014-15 Leonard finished his college career leading R.P.I. defensemen with 10 points (2g, 8a) while serving as team captain.
Crunk, 22, will be returning to Fort Wayne for his second straight full season. The left winger made his pro debut with the Komets appearing in eight games at the end of the 2015-16 season after completing a five-year juniors stint. The San Jacinto, California native began his juniors career with Victoria in the WHL where he played for four seasons. Crunk completed his junior play sharing the 2015-16 season with Spruce Grove in the AJHL and Vancouver of the WHL.
“I know our fans will be happy that ‘Crunker’ is coming back to Fort Wayne,” Franke stated. “His physical style of play is an important part of our team. Hopefully we can expand Taylor’s role with the team.”
Last year Crunk logged his first full pro season with the Komets scoring three assists and four points in 42 games while ranking second with 120 penalty minutes.
The Komet preseason roster grows to nine players including six forwards and three defensemen. Shaafsma and Crunk join forwards Mason Baptista, Gabriel Desjardins, Garrett Thompson and Dennis Kravchenko. Crunk joins defensemen Jason Binkley and Ryan Lowney.
Opening night for the 66th season of Komet Hockey is slated for Saturday, Oct. 14 in Fort Wayne against the Toledo Walleye. Season Tickets are on sale now at the Komet office at 1010 Memorial Way in Fort Wayne. Single game tickets go on sale soon.