Were it not for Tim Hoke, there wouldn't be TV broadcasts of Komets hockey games.
Now the Komets and their fans will have to go on without Hoke, who died at the age of 66.
Hoke, who came up with the concept of tape-delayed TV broadcasts and called about 600 games between 1989 and last spring, died early Friday morning. He suffered ventricular fibrillation -- uncontrolled spasming of the heart -- on Sunday and never recovered.
"We're not professionals. We had fun doing it," said Randi Marcom, Hoke's longtime color man. "There were times I wish we could be more professional. But it was laid back, interview people here and there.
"It's solely been about sharing this great sport with people out there, in hopes that people would come across it and just come out to the arena. We've had people who have lived in Fort Wayne their whole lives, then would see (our broadcast) and come out to (Memorial) Coliseum."
And Hoke was never paid a dime for bringing Komets games into people's living rooms through Cable TV access.
"We've been together for 16 years and Tim wasn't really a big sports fan, but the Komets were his thing," said Hoke's wife, Kris. "He had Komet decorations all around the house. He watched and listened to every game. He'd bring home tapes. He did the Komets games to bring the fan base up. He wanted to bring more people in, and he was very successful at that. He had the attitude and charisma and character for it."
Hoke, who was a goaltender, never shied away from letting his emotion come out during broadcasts.
"We were homers, that's for damned sure," Marcom said.
Hoke had already decided he wouldn't be calling Komets games any more, and he was going to retire from Aqua Indiana this fall and move to Florida.
Viewing will be at D.O. McComb and Sons Funeral Home at 1140 Lake Ave on Monday 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. There will be additional viewing Tuesday 9 to 10 a.m., with the service beginning at 10 a.m. Burial will be at Marion National Cemetery at 1 p.m.
The family has asked donations to be made to Fort Wayne Youth Hockey.
The family has set up a memorial page for Hoke -- click here -- and I'd appreciate it if you left some stories about Tim in the comments section here, too.