The jersey retirement ceremony for Guy Dupuis lasted just over 15 minutes Saturday night. But the former Komets defenseman, while addressing the crowd, said he was content with his decision to retire last summer after 21 seasons – 14 of which were with the Komets.
“Am I going to miss hockey? Hey, sure,” said the former Komets captain, who played a franchise-record 1,040 games with the team.
“I loved playing. I had a passion for it. But now I get to sit in the stands with my family, watch the Komets and yell, just like all of you do, ‘Shooooooooot.’”
Dupuis’ No. 2 is the 13th jersey to be raised to the Memorial Coliseum rafters.
Some notes were sent to be read during the ceremony. They came from ESPN’s Barry Melrose, who coached Dupuis as a rookie with Adirondack; Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, who played alongside and coached Dupuis with the Komets; and Detroit Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano, who drafted Dupuis, though he never made it to the NHL.
“Guy, like all of us, you look a lot different today compared to 1992, when we won the Calder Cup in Adirondack of the AHL,” Melrose wrote. “You were a great player then, and that continued throughout your career. It was a pleasure coaching you and I kept track of your career all through the years. I know you will always be a success in life.”
Wrote Boudreau: “When I first met you, you were working your way up from being a seventh defenseman on your team, and from the start with your work ethic, I knew you were going to make it. You were a great guy with great dedication to your teammates and a great leader. I am proud to have had you as a teammate, and (to have been) your coach. I have followed your career and am proud to say you are my friend.”
Dupuis conceded to the Coliseum fans Saturday that when he first joined the Komets in 1991-92, “all I wanted to do was try to make the team.” He wound up winning league-wide best defenseman awards three times.
“I drafted Guy Dupuis in the third round of the 1988 (NHL) draft for the Detroit Red Wings,” Devellano wrote. “He was a young man with high character and a solid work ethic. I would like to congratulate Guy on a very long, wonderful career. To play until you are 40 is a heck of an accomplishment. The Detroit Red Wings wish you the very best in your future endeavors.”
Dupuis, who helped the Komets to four championships in the IHL, now works for Diversified Marketing Solutions Inc., buying surplus automotive parts from manufacturers and selling them to salvage yards and recyclers.
“When I first got here, there were a couple things I noticed about the Komets’ fans,” Dupuis said. “The first thing was that the fans never liked the referees. The second thing was the passion that the Komets’ fans had for hockey. There was such excitement, passion and support you guys had for us.”