It truly is the end of an era for the Komets.
Coach Al Sims and captain Colin Chaulk retired, and now so has the goaltender who backstopped them to four championships between 2008 and 2012.
Nick Boucher, who missed last season as he recovered from two hip surgeries and a wrist surgery, will now be a senior loan officer with Ruoff Mortgage in Fort Wayne.
It wasnt a difficult decision after sitting all of last year and being away from the game. In some ways, because of that, Id already started to make the step. I had one foot over the line and the other was dragging a little bit, Boucher said.
But I skated at the end of the year and still had some aggravating pains. I realized I was going to have to medicate like I had in the past with cortisone shots and things, and I wasnt willing to do it.
Everyone reaches the point where they ask, When is enough enough? The last time I played, we won and it would be hard to top that.
Boucher, 32, was 162-77-18 with a 2.51 goals-against average and 13 shutouts in five seasons with the Komets.
The four championships in Fort Wayne that Nick won is an accomplishment that legends are made of in hockey, Komets general manager David Franke said. If it wasnt for Nicks high competitive nature and unwavering focus to win, these championships probably would not have happened. Nick is a Komet living legend and his accomplishments bear that out.
He had a tremendous will to win, to play through pain and to lift his teammates up with his sensational goaltending.
Boucher, a Dartmouth graduate, may continue to assist the Komets as a goaltending consultant, informally.
Maybe its a blessing that I am going out on my own terms and not being forced to do so, Boucher said.
In Bouchers first season with the Komets, 2007-08, he led IHL goalies with a 2.32 GAA and a .913 save percentage. But he entered Fort Wayne lore in the playoffs, when he led them back from a 3-1 series deficit to win the Turner Cup finals in triple overtime against Port Huron.
In 2008-09, he was selected as the IHLs Goaltender of the Year and was named Komets MVP by his teammates, and Fort Wayne won its second of three straight IHL playoff titles, something no goalie in franchise history had ever done.
En route to the 2010 championship, the Komets had another comeback from a 3-1 deficit to Port Huron in the semifinals.
In 2011-12, he led CHL goalies with 32 victories, was an all-star, was again selected team MVP and guided Fort Wayne to another championship, which included a comeback from down 2-0 to Missouri in the conference semifinals.
Nick was the catalyst for all three consecutive championships, Komets president Michael Franke said. His mindset was to keep the puck out of the net, and in the playoffs that is exactly what he did.
His place in Komet hockey history is set. No one will ever backstop three straight championships again.
Boucher will work out of Ruoffs southwest office at 6920 Pointe Inverness Way, Suite 110.
The Fort Wayne community has been very good to me, which has played a big part in my decision to call Fort Wayne home, Boucher said.
Added David Franke: He had nothing left to prove. He goes out a winner and on his terms.
One thing about Nick, he loves the city of Fort Wayne and will be living here now permanently. Hes just another one of many former Komets who decided to call Fort Wayne home.
Thats a testament to how people in this community treat our players, whether they are currently playing or moved into other businesses.