FORT WAYNE – 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, who was acquired Wednesday from Florida for future considerations, after several teams were trying to pry him from the Everblades.
I was holding my breath for a while.
Reichard is from Celina, Ohio, about an hour southeast of Fort Wayne. 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.
He played NCAA regional games at the Coliseum with the RedHawks, too.
While Reichard reached the NCAA championship game only once – Miami lost to Boston University 4-3 in overtime in 2009 – the Komets’ other new 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 AHL games last season for former Komets coach John Torchetti in Houston, and Muse had 36 games with Charlotte.
So Fort Wayne felt it was prudent to have two elite goalies.
After we got the deal with John Muse done (Aug. 6), we didn’t feel comfortable just going with a rookie goalie, said Komets coach Gary Graham, who has pulled off two other trades since being hired this summer: 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.
Florida didn’t need Reichard this season because it will get goaltenders from Tampa Bay and Carolina of the NHL.