Cody Reichard's first goaltending clinic was taught by Komets legend Robbie Irons.
This season, Reichard will play at Memorial Coliseum – Irons' No. 30 hangs from the rafters there – and try to become the next celebrated Komets goalie.
"I'm pretty excited and happy it worked out the way it did," said Reichard, whose rights were acquired Wednesday from Florida for future considerations, ending a lengthy process in which several teams were trying to pry him from the Everblades.
"I was holding my breath for awhile."
Reichard is from Celina, Ohio, about an hour away. After getting the itch for hockey on inline skates, he took his talents to the nearest ice surface – old McMillen Arena.
"I was fortunate enough to have good parents willing to drive me all that way," said Reichard, who donned the Komets' logo for multiple youth teams, was coached by former Komets defenseman John Baldassari and practiced sometimes at the Coliseum.
He went on to a successful junior career – he was the North American Hockey League's MVP and Goaltender of the Year with Fairbanks in 2008 – and then played collegiately for Miami (Ohio).
He led the nation with a goals-against average of 1.87 in his junior season of 2009-10, when he was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in the nation, and he was the Player of the Year in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
While Reichard reached the NCAA championship game only once – Miami lost to Boston University 4-3 in overtime in 2009 – the Komets' other goalie, John Muse, won national championships with Boston College in 2008 and 2010.
The Komets should have a formidable tandem with Reichard, 26, and Muse, 25, who also led Florida to the ECHL title in 2012.
"I'm sure we'll have a healthy relationship and whoever's playing, the other will have to concentrate on being a good teammate," Reichard said.
The Komets expect Reichard and Muse to both get called up to the American Hockey League at various times this season – Reichard played seven games with Houston last season, and Muse had 36 games with Charlotte – so they felt it was prudent to have two elite goalies.
"After we got the deal with John done, we didn't feel comfortable just going with a rookie goalie," said Komets coach Gary Graham, who had previously pulled off two other trades -- Jean-Michel Rizk was sent to Alaska for Bobby Hughes, and Daniel Maggio went to San Francisco for Simon Danis-Pepin.
Reichard's rights were acquired by Florida from Stockton last season – he had gone 13-8-5 with a 2.64 GAA and a .911 save percentage for the Thunder – but he never got sent down from Houston to play for the Everblades.
- The folks at the Lutheran Health SportsCenter wanted me to remind all you hockey players and figure skaters that it's time to register for fall programs at: www.icesports.com/fortwayne.