Were it not for Tim Hoke, there wouldn’t be TV broadcasts of Komets hockey games.
Now the Komets and their fans face a future without one of their most passionate brethren: Hoke died Friday morning at 66.
He suffered ventricular fibrillation – uncontrolled spasms of muscles in the heart – on Sunday and never recovered.
Hoke came up with the ideo to do tape-delayed TV broadcasts of Komets’ games in 1989. He called 600 games in four different leagues between 1989 and last spring.
“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.”
Hoke was never paid a dime for bringing Komets games into people’s living rooms.
“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. Because of that, celebrations were made, opposing players were lambasted and fans set their VCRs and TiVo’s wanting to hear what Hoke and Marcom would say.
“We were homers, that’s for damned sure,” Marcom said.
Hoke had 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 from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday. There will be additional viewing 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday with the service beginning at 10 a.m.
Burial will be at Marion National Cemetery at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The family has asked donations in honor of Hoke to be made to Fort Wayne Youth Hockey.