FORT WAYNE – Forward Mike Vaskivuo signed to play next season with Grenoble in France less than a week after he helped the Komets win the Presidents Cup and was named playoff MVP.
The announcement was made on Grenobles website.
Komets general manager David Franke hasnt given up hope on getting Vaskivuo back for next season.
He is in our plans for next season, but hes 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 theyre (typically) offering more in Europe than what they do in the States. But just because hes signed in Europe doesnt 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.
Vaskivuo, 26, had 10 goals and 24 points in 18 playoff games with the Komets. Fort Wayne won the CHL championship by defeating the Wichita Thunder in five games.
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 couldnt be reached for comment Monday, 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 Im just grateful for that.
Vaskivuo played in six regular-season games with Fort Wayne.
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 with Missouri in the seven-game Turner Conference finals.
Notes: The Komets have yet to announce whether they are moving to the ECHL or staying in the CHL. Komets assistant coach Gary Graham said he did not get the head coaching job with the CHLs Bloomington Blaze, which plans to introduce its new hire Wednesday. Fort Wayne native and former Komets goalie Brian Gratz is believed to be one of the leading candidates.