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Ice Chips


Ah, the memories

Ah, the memories.

I heard Kent Hormann was discussing this topic on his radio show, Sportswise (weekdays 5 to 6 p.m., 1380 AM): Mark Fitzpatrick's short tenure with the Komets of the old (real) IHL in 1997-98.

Fitzpatrick, on assignment from the NHL's Florida Panthers, was 1-1-0 and stopped 48 of 56 shots in two games.

Then he went back to the NHL and told the Miami Herald: "As I was going down Interstate 69 to Indianapolis, I learned James Dean was born in a town called Rosewood or something (actually Fairmount),'' Fitzpatrick said. "That's about all I got out of it. ... If we had to go back in time a week and had to make the same choice, there's not a chance that I'd go (to Fort Wayne)."

This is one of those stories that's fun to look back on. When the Komets played AAA-level hockey, there were guys who hated being here, because it was Fort Wayne, and guys who loved it, because it meant they were one step from the NHL.

The thing lost in time about the Fitzpatrick story is that he was miffed he was being sent down, not because of the city, but because he felt he had earned through his play a spot on the team, instead of up-and-comer Kevin Weekes.

And the whole reason Florida sent him down, allegedly, was that they were trying to deal him. But he played so poorly, with scouts in the stands, the whole thing fell through.

Fitzpatrick later told the Palm Beach Post: "It was a mistake on my part; it was very unprofessional (to vent). I was over-tired. I only had a couple hours' sleep the night before. And most of all I was frustrated how I played down (in Fort Wayne)."

I don't know, back then, I thought everyone in Fort Wayne had an inferiority complex, and I guess we still do.

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