FORT WAYNE – After more than two months of waiting, fans of the Komets will finally learn today who will be the next head coach of the team.
A 2 p.m. news conference at Memorial Coliseum will reveal whether Al Sims’ replacement will be former assistant coach Gary Graham, the only acknowledged candidate, or someone else, as the team has kept the names of the six interviewed candidates a closely guarded secret.
Sims retired after coaching the Komets to four championships in the past six years but missing the playoffs last season, Fort Wayne’s first in the ECHL.
Oh yeah, I’m ready to get going with the new coach and get the ball rolling on recruiting, Komets general manager David Franke said, declining to elaborate on the new hire.
On Monday, the Komets revealed their list of protected players, which included no surprises.
Everybody we were able to protect, we did, Franke said. That means any player on standard ECHL contracts with the Komets, excluding players who had been assigned by the parent Anaheim Ducks of the NHL or Norfolk Admirals of the AHL, along with goalie Kenny Reiter, who was on an AHL contract with Bridgeport.
The Komets retain exclusive negotiating rights with these players until at least June 15: Charlie Effinger, Daniel Maggio, Scott Kishel, Nick Wheeler, Mathieu Gagnon, Jeremy Gates, Tyler Butler, Jamie Milam, Eric Giosa, Matt Firman, Jean-Michel Rizk, John Dunbar, Chris Auger, Mike Hoban, Brandon Marino, Matt Syroczynski, Thomas Beauregard, Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, Brett Smith and the recently retired Colin Chaulk.
On June 15, a season-ending roster of up to 20 players is due to the league, and it can include only players who signed an ECHL contract for the 2012-13 season.
Teams hold the rights to players on the season-ending roster until July 1, when a list of eight players with qualifying offers is due. Of those eight, no more than four can be veterans. Players who sign a contract between June 16 and July 1 do not need to receive a qualifying offer.