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More on Warner; conferences named

Defenseman Brandon Warner grew up a fan of the Komets, and he's helped them to three playoff championships.

He'll back to vie for No. 4.

The Komets re-signed the Huntertown native, who had four goals and 23 points in 63 games last season, giving them 22 contracted players for their first season in the Central Hockey League.

"Definitely, these last three years have been crazy and special," said Warner, who helped the Komets to titles in the IHL. "It's pretty rare, no matter what the league is, to win some championships, especially three in a row. With the new leaguie, it will be exciting. People don't know what to expect. It will be a good change with exciting hockey, younger and faster hockey."

Warner has endured his share of injuries in his professional career -- he played only 26 games in 2008-09 because of a hip injury -- but he feels renewed confidence after last season's durability.

"Playing 67 games and staying healthy, it gave me some confidence," Warner said. "Overall, I feel a lot better than what I did going into last season."

The Komets have re-signed six defensemen from last season, including Guy Dupuis, Danko Mironovic, Keith Rodger, Bobby Phillips' and Warner's defense partner from the playoffs, Frankie DeAngelis. In the playoffs, Warner had six assists in 12 games.

"We've got a good solid corps of guys and picking up some new ones, like (Craig) Cescon, we've got some good guys coming in," Warner said. "It's nice having a good solid defense that has won some championships. And it's really exciting to have Frankie back; that was a big thing in the back of my head and I think we'll start off the season together."

In other news, it was announced that the nothern conference, in which the Komets will play, will be named the Turner Conference in honor of Joseph Turner. The southern conference will be called the Berry Conference, in honor of Tom Berry.

The Turner conference includes the five IHL teams the CHL has absorbed. Joseph Turner was a a goaltender from Windsor, Ontario, who played for the Detroit Red Wings before dying in World War II in Belgium. Turner drew distinction playing in an amateur league that was a precursor to the IHL, which awarded the Turner Cup to the Komets seven times.

Berry is the commissioner emeritus of the CHL, but he was also commissioner of the old IHL from 1989 to 1994.

The Turner Conference includes: Bloomington, Colorado, Dayton, Fort Wayne, Evansville, Missouri, Quad City, Rapid City and Wichita. The Berry Conference has Allen, Arizona, Bossier-Shreveport, Laredo, Mississippi, Odessa, Rio Grande Valley, Texas and Tulsa.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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