FORT WAYNE – Scott Fleming was working a 9-to-5 job as a researcher in Toronto, having given up his hockey career and realizing that may have been a mistake, when he decided to take a trip to see his old friend, Chris Auger, last season.
I was working a regular job. It was life, I guess, said Fleming, 25.
Then I came down and saw Chris after his season and he mentioned it to me. We were talking and he knew I was working and not knowing what I was going to do (long term). He said, What would you think about coming to Fort Wayne and playing again?’ I realized, yeah, that was what I wanted to do.
So at Auger’s behest, the Komets gave Fleming a chance, and he’s certainly worked out so far.
He has three goals and 10 points in nine games this season for Fort Wayne (3-4-2), which plays Toledo (4-5-1) today at Memorial Coliseum.
Not bad for a guy who had been off the ice for almost two years.
I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, said Fleming, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound forward. It’s just like any other offseason. Even talking to (Auger), he’s back there after missing most of last year (with a knee injury). Everyone starts from scratch, and I knew I had it in myself. That was my mentality.
After playing at Dartmouth from 2007 to 2011 – Fleming had 13 goals and 31 points in 32 games his senior year – and getting a degree in economics, he was given looks by Phoenix of the NHL and Portland of the American Hockey League. He wound up with Gwinnett of the ECHL.
He had three goals and four points in six games with the Gladiators, but his season, and it looked like his career, had ended with a concussion.
Meanwhile, Auger was helping the Komets to the CHL’s 2012 title.
Fleming had been a childhood friend – they were both prolific scorers in juniors for the Wellington Dukes – and he came to visit Auger during the 2012 playoff semifinals, so he had an idea of what the atmosphere was like at the Coliseum.
When I first started skating again, there was quite a bit of rust, said Fleming, who has been the Komets’ most consistent performer on faceoffs. After a couple weeks, I felt pretty good and got back in the swing of things. It wasn’t too bad, actually.
He is third on the Komets in scoring, behind Mickey Lang and Brandon Marino, who both have 11 points.
Fort Wayne has been good to me, he said. I’ve been enjoying it a lot here. It’s been nice to get back to playing hockey. Hopefully we can get to playing better as a team.
Notes: As part of Military Appreciation weekend, the Komets will wear stars-and-stripes jerseys, which will be auctioned off to benefit Veterans Airlift Command. IndyCar driver John Andretti will be on hand each night to sign autographs.