FORT WAYNE – Derek Patrosso was at the center of some key moments during the last two Komets seasons. Hes poised to be part of some more next season, though this time as a Fort Wayne player.
Thats assuming a contractual mess is worked out.
On Wednesday, the Komets signed Patrosso and Brandon Naurato, both of whom were forwards with the now-defunct Port Huron Icehawks, and they join defenseman Bobby Phillips as players signed for Fort Waynes 59th season and first as part of a coalition between the IHL and Central Hockey League.
But Patrosso had already signed to play next season with the Braehead Clan of the United Kingdoms Elite League, a fact confirmed by the teams coach, former Komets player/assistant coach Bruce Richardson.
In an e-mail, Richardson said he was shocked to learn Patrosso had signed with the Komets, and that he had been unable to reach the player for explanation.
He is signed to play for me, Richardson wrote. Everything was great a week ago. I told him that a lot of players were calling for jobs and he said to me, I hope I will not lose my job, and I told him not to worry.
Patrosso, 25, declined to discuss his signing with The Journal Gazette, or even confirm it, saying, Maybe we can talk about it in a day or two because there are some things in the works. Were working on something here, and Im not sure whats going to work out.
Komets general manager David Franke didnt return phone calls, but he told WANE-TV: Derek has signed a contract to play over in Scotland. Were presently working through that to see if we can get him out of the contract with Scotland. If we can do that, hell be in Fort Wayne, for sure.
Patrossos name should be familiar to Komets fans, and not just because he totaled 37 goals and 113 points in 139 games with Port Huron.
He was the player at whom Komets goaltender Tim Haun took a baseball-like swing of the stick last season, resulting in the seven-game suspension for the IHLs Goaltender of the Year.
And in Game 5 of the Turner Cup semifinals, with the Icehawks up 3-1 in the series and 2-0 in the game, Patrosso was foiled on a breakaway by goaltender Nick Boucher, a pivotal moment of the Komets run to a third straight IHL championship.
Naurato, 25, had 25 goals and 46 points in 61 games last season. He couldnt be reached for comment.
I think were all real excited about Patrosso and Naurato coming in, Komets coach Al Sims said. Both did well against us in the playoffs, especially Brandon Naurato, when he had six points. Patrosso only had three points, but he did enough damage against us in the regular season. He brings a lot of size and skill to the forward position. He scored a lot of goals around the net.
Brandon Naurato has a lot more scoring in him, and it will come this year.