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Komets

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Trip to Arizona first of new jaunts for K’s

– The Komets were, frankly, tired of making the same old trips to places like Muskegon over and over again.

When they were in the IHL the last three seasons, the league never had more than seven teams, and that meant seven or so visits per season to each of the same rinks.

Now that they’re in the Central Hockey League, the Komets are looking forward to seeing different sites and different arenas.

“There will be new barns, new excitement for us in the southern states there,” left wing P.C. Drouin said. “It’s always team bonding, too, when you have big trips. You get to stay with the boys for a couple days, get to know everyone a little bit.”

The Komets will play 30 of their 36 games away from Memorial Coliseum, and it started with Friday’s game at Prescott Valley, Ariz., where the Komets face the Arizona Sundogs again tonight.

The Komets play in 11 cities outside of Fort Wayne this season.

For most of the players, sites like Rapid City, S.D., North Richland Hills, Texas, and Windsor, Colo., will be unexplored territory.

“That’s the exiting thing,” defenseman Craig Cescon said. “You don’t know what to expect every game. Whether the ice is good or bad, it doesn’t matter, we have to play with no excuses and give it all you’ve got.”

Save for a few games in the United Hockey League, the Komets haven’t regularly skated games in warm-weather states since the old IHL in the late 1990s.

Coach Al Sims, who was behind the bench for Corpus Christi and Fort Worth of the CHL earlier in his career, said the ice conditions shouldn’t be a worry.

Jet lag, on the other hand, might be.

“The ice isn’t usually too bad nowadays, with the new equipment, especially in the newer buildings,” Sims said. “It’s just the weather conditions. When it’s 90 outside, how much do you feel like playing hockey? It’s not conducive for hockey, but these are professionals, and they’ll get up for it.”

jcohn@jg.net

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