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K's want CHL next season, could look to ECHL

The Komets would come back to the CHL next season, if the CHL membership remains what it is this season: 14 teams with at least the Dayton (Ohio) Gems nearby.

"If the membership came back next year in all the cities," Komets president Michael Franke said, "it would be great."

The Komets lost 2-1 Friday night to Bloomington.

There has been speculation that more CHL teams could fold, or move to other leagues, as happened with four teams after last season.

That could have the Komets striking up conversations with the ECHL, another AA-level league more closely affiliated with the NHL and with teams in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan.

"There have always been conversations (with the ECHL) on and off (for years)," Franke said, "but as far as any hardened conversaions, not up to this point because it's premature."

Franke said the topic of teams leaving for the ECHL didn't come up at the CHL's meetings in Prescott Valley, Ariz., this week. Instead, they discussed how many games would be played next season in the CHL, what the roster sizes will be, that sort of thing.

No final determination on those issues was made, Franke said.

The Komets, who left the original IHL in 1998, the UHL in 2007, and the second incarnation of the IHL in 2010, would like to know what league they will be in next season by May.

"Internally, (discussions about next season) have already begun," Franke said. "We would like to have a final decision made by the middle of April, the first of May. For us, that's the critical point in time. A lot of those decisions will be made by what's going on in the CHL."

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 jcohn@jg.net.

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