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Komets maintain defensive position


– As the Komets prepare for their 59th season, and their first playing under the Central Hockey League moniker, they continue to prioritize their young defensive corps.

The team signed Danko Mironovic and Keith Rodger, who were part of the last two Turner Cup championships in the IHL.

“We’ve had success with Danko and Keith the last two seasons and we’d definitely like to keep a core of those championship teams here,” Fort Wayne coach Al Sims said. “And they’re young, which is a bonus. They’re only going to get better.”

Mironovic, 23, tallied one goal, 19 points and a plus-18 rating in 72 regular-season games last season. Rodger, 25, had two goals, 12 points and a plus-6 rating in 69 games.

They join Bobby Phillips, who is coming off his first professional season with the Komets, as defensemen contracted for the upcoming season. The Komets have also signed forwards Derek Patrosso and Brandon Naurato, both of whom skated last season for Port Huron of the IHL.

While Rodger was scoreless in seven playoff games last spring, Mironovic had three assists in all 12 postseason games, including victories over Port Huron and Flint.

“Danko’s physicality, his size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) and reach and everything, when he plays a physical game, he’s really effective,” Sims said. “I was talking to Brandon Naurato and he mentioned Danko being a pain to play against and when he does (use his body), he is effective.”

Training camp is expected to open the week of Oct. 4 at Memorial Coliseum, with the regular season likely to begin the weekend of Oct. 16.

Komets officials hope that the CHL-IHL schedule will be released in mid-July. A length of schedule hasn’t been finalized, although it’s expected to be 66 games. There will be 18 teams in the union, including five from the IHL – Fort Wayne, Quad City, Bloomington, Dayton and first-year Evansville.

Season tickets can be purchased at the Komets’ offices, 1010 Memorial Way. Season ticket packages will save buyers up to 20 percent off walk-up prices. For information on available packages, call 481-0011.

In the meantime, both the Komets and TinCaps baseball team, which won the Midwest League last season, will take part in the Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival parade as honorary grand marshals. The parade will be downtown Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.