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Komets movie nears reality

Trainer-to-goalie film in works


Local filmmaker George Johnson has been in discussions with Komets ownership about the possibility of making the long-rumored movie about Joe Franke.

Franke was the team’s 42-year-old equipment manager when he came into a game as a goaltender – his first and only game in the pros – and led the Komets to a shootout victory over Elmira during 2002 in the United Hockey League.

The “1-0 Joe” game made international news and inspired the Komets to the 2003 Colonial Cup championship.

“We have had a script ready and a concept of how to proceed with a feature film for quite some time,” Komets vice president Scott Sproat said. “We have just sort of been waiting for the writer/producer that we have chosen to work with to be in a position to potentially proceed with production. It appears that George Johnson from Breathe Motion Pictures is now nearing that position after having wrapped production and release of his latest feature film ‘Homeless for the Holidays,’ so now it is more feasible to begin more substantive discussions about what it would take to actually make it happen.

“There are still a lot of details to be discussed and a long way to go before it would become a reality. But we’re hopeful that we could see it happen.

“It would be great for the Komets and for minor-league hockey. It’s a fantastic story that deserves to be told. Stay tuned.”

Franke, who had dressed as an emergency backup goaltender several times during his career, was called into action when Tom Lawson was on call-up to the American Hockey League and Pokey Reddick was injured.

Franke stopped 4 of 6 in regulation, 3 of 4 shootout attempts and assisted on a goal as the Komets won 4-3.

A crowd of 6,497 attended the game, and more than 100 held vigil outside the locker room for more than an hour after the game chanting Franke’s name.

“In late 2005, Scott Sproat and I began talking about the ‘1-0 Joe’ story, and the possibility of producing an inspirational family film about it,” Johnson said.

“We met several times over the years since, and I wrote the script, but for one reason or the other, the time never seemed right to produce it. … For the past couple of weeks, Scott and I have had informal discussions about moving ‘The Komet’ into production.”