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On return of Sims, players

The Komets have yet to sign any players for the upcoming season, though coach Al Sims, who has five Cups with Fort Wayne dating back to 1993, has signed an undisclosed contract to return.

He has coached one season in the ECHL, with Reading in 2001-02, going 27-36-9.

"We were an expansion team, and I didn't have the advantage of a championship team and picking and choosing who I wanted from that team and then filling in the blanks," Sims said. "It was starting from zero. … It was a lot of young guys, not a lot of vets, and we paid the price. … I know the type of players the ECHL wants."

The Komets have no players under contract for next season, though Sims said Jean-Michel Rizk, Stephon Thorne and Bryant Molle definitely fit the ECHL mold of young and fast players.

He also said captain Colin Chaulk and goalie Nick Boucher, this season's MVP, could get it done in the ECHL.

"I'm 59. Al is 59. This kind of stuff really reinvigorates us and really drives us," general manager David Franke said. "One thing people can say about Komets hockey is it's never stale. We have played in a few leagues and been very successful. But we're putting the franchise in the best possible situation for the future and that's the ECHL."

Sims said he has a good grasp on what makes a good ECHL player, based on the players he's gotten from and lost to the ECHL. He's also going to scout the ECHL finals in the coming days.

David and Michael Franke scouted several games this season, too.

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