FORT WAYNE – Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock had toyed with leaving the Komets to play for ECHL teams a couple of times through the years in order to get seen by more scouts and move up in the minor-league ranks.
So it’s ironic that after he decided he no longer wanted to leave Fort Wayne, the Komets joined the ECHL.
I would have been playing for this organization no matter what league we’re in, said Schrock, 27, whose Komets open their 61st training camp today at Memorial Coliseum.
The reason I stayed here was because it’s my hometown. But it is exciting that the ECHL is affiliated with NHL teams. Guys are going to have the opportunity to move up, if they play well. And for many of us it’s a chance to remotivate ourselves and to win a championship in a different league. We did it in the IHL and the CHL. For me, that’s my biggest drive. It would be cool to have a ring from each league.
Schrock, a forward, is in his fourth season with the Komets, the only team he ever played for after a college career at Neumann, where he won the Division III national championship in 2009.
He helped the Komets to the 2010 IHL title, after being selected the Komets’ Rookie of the Year. And he was an alternate captain the past two seasons in the CHL, where the Komets won the championship last spring.
Schrock, 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, has 59 goals and 108 points in 239 games regular-season and playoff games combined.
But his role is more to bring speed, energy, tenacity and toughness. He has racked up 504 penalty minutes, and shown a willingness to fight opponents of any size – just ask 6-5, 230-pound Steve Makway – and protect his teammates.
Players like that can be valuable in the higher-level American Hockey League, in which Schrock once hoped to make it. Now that he’s playing for the Anaheim Ducks’ minor-league team, that door could open, even if he’s not waiting for it.
At this point, I don’t think I want to wear any other uniform than a Komets uniform. I just bought a house in town and I have a great setup and at this point in time I’m not looking to play anywhere else, said Schrock, a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual.
However, if someone called and said, Hey, do you want to have a cup of tea in the AHL?’ I’d go, absolutely. But it’s not a bad plan to stick it out in a K’s (uniform).
Schrock realizes that complacency can kill a career, though.
This is what training camp is for – you’ve still got to make the team. There’s a little bit of nervousness and anxiousness setting in during camp, and you want to make sure you show well, because it’s an audition, Schrock said. This is a business. The (owners) are very loyal but at the same time they want to put a winning team on the ice and if you don’t come into camp ready to go, your job is on the line. It’s important that everyone knows that, especially the older players who have had success. These newer guys are going to push you.