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Playoff MVP Vaskivuo headed to France

Less than a week after he hoisted the Presidents’ Cup and was selected as the Playoff MVP, forward Mike Vaskivuo has signed to play next season with Grenoble in France.

The announcement was made on Grenoble’s website.

However, Komets general manager David Franke hasn’t given up hope on getting Vaskivuo back for next season.

“He is in our plans for next season, but he’s a hot commodity right now,” said Franke, who has yet to make contract offers for next season. “I know he wanted to try Europe out. And I know they’re (typically) offering more in Europe than what they do in the states.

"But just because he’s signed in Europe doesn’t forbid him from getting out of the deal and signing in the states. I think he took the opportunity right now because it might not be there later, but we’ll work on him.”

Vaskivuo, 26, had 10 goals and 24 points in 18 playoff games with the Komets, who finished their five-game finals series with the Wichita Thunder on May 7.

Vaskivuo had spent most of the season with Rapid City, which waived him in March. After five teams passed on Vaskivuo on the waiver wire, the Komets picked him up and put him on the top line with Colin Chaulk and Chris Auger.

Vaskivuo couldn’t be reached for comment today, but he said recently, “I was in the dumps a couple months ago. I was ready to go home and get my summer going. I was fortunate enough for Fort Wayne to call me and they gave me an opportunity – a real opportunity – and I’m just grateful for that.”

He had only six regular season games with Fort Wayne, which won its fourth championship in five years, including three straight in the now-defunct IHL.

Grenoble, which finished seventh out of 14 teams last season, is coached by former Komets rival Jean-Francois Dufour. Grenoble has also signed Ed McGrane, whom the Komets faced in the seven-game Turner Conference finals against Missouri.

The Komets have yet to announce whether they are making the expected move to the ECHL or staying 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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