FORT WAYNE – In the end, it wasnt hoisting the Turner Cup that night in May that swayed Guy Dupuis. It was the prospect of hoisting the next Cup.
And so Dupuis considered the time away from his kids, the move to a new league, even a fairly decent pay cut, and made his choice: Hes coming back for a 14th season with the Fort Wayne Komets, more than any player in club history whose name isnt Eddie Long.
I have a very competitive nature, and I love playing hockey, Dupuis said Monday as the Komets announced they had signed the 40-year-old defenseman. We had a successful season the last three seasons here, winning three championships. And looking at the new league this year it was very difficult to win a championship three years in a row, and its gonna be even more difficult now.
I think for a person that loves challenges, well, theres a challenge right there.
The signing of Dupuis – as well as defenseman Steven Olesky, who played with Toledo and Idaho of the ECHL and Port Huron of the IHL last year – means the Komets defense returns almost intact from a year ago, with a couple of additions. And it returns to the blue line a player whos been a four-time league defenseman of the year and eight times the Komets defenseman of the year.
Dupuis skated his first season for Fort Wayne in 1991-92, skated on the 1993 Turner Cup team and skated six more seasons before leaving for six years. He returned in 2005 and has been with the Komets since.
In 2009-10, he established club records for career games (968), career points by a defenseman (549), career goals by a defenseman (129) and career regular-season points (505) and goals (116).
This wasnt an easy decision, Dupuis said Monday. There were a lot of factors that came into play with this year having a new league and more travel than were used to, and in the new IHL being away more often from my kids and family. The older you get, the more kids you have in the family, the less time you want to spend away from your kids.
But, again, theres a lot of positives that came into play. I definitely see it as a challenge.
Anybody that plays hockey at our level, youve got to be really competitive by nature. Knowing that and knowing the Komets are always going to be committed to being competitive and putting a good product on the ice is exciting. Right from training camp we know we have a chance, and thats a lot of fun.
Olesky, a second-year pro out of Chesterfield, Mich., and Lake Superior State, scored a goal and two points in 28 games with Port Huron last year. He finished the season with Idaho of the ECHL.
Note: Central Hockey League announced that the reigning champion Rapid City (S.D.) Rush will play host to the 2011 Central Hockey League All-Star Game at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Arena on Jan. 12.