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Joe Franke ecstatic

Five years after being fired as the Komets' equipment manager, Joe Franke is ecstatic to be back with the team.

"Well, heck, yeah, I am," he said. "This is a big part of my life. Half my life was taken away from me (in 2006)."

It was never made public why the Komets fired Franke -- known as "1-0 Joe" around here -- back in 2006.

Franke received some international fame for going into the net as a 42-year-old rookie in 2002 and winning a game for the Komets. Plans for a movie of his story are still in the works, though. Depending on whom you talk to, it's anywhere from still being written to about to be filmed.

Even though the Komets have a void at backup goaltender, don't expect Franke to take on that role. He said he doesn't even have his pads anymore.

I haven't been able to reach general manager David Franke, who is of no relation, to find out what this means for last season's co-equipment managers, Mark Bradtmueller and Andy Desmonds.

Joe Franke said those decisions are best left to the front office.

Meanwhile, the re-signing of Leo Thomas gives the Komets 10 players who were on the roster last season. Remember when the Komets said they expected to bring about six players back?

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