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Ken Ullyot watches the action.

Komets icon Ken Ullyot dies

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Ullyot

Ken Ullyot, the famed former coach, general manager and owner of the Komets died today at the age of 92.

"Ken was a great guy," Komets majority owner Stephen Franke said. "I grew up in his era and he was the foundation of my love for Komet hockey.

"Ken told me when we bought the franchise to savor the wins and when you wake up the next morning you'll still be excited. Forget about the losses before you go to bed. It has been good advice for 24 years."

Ullyot, who first joined the Komets in 1958, was with the team until 1986. He coached the Komets to the IHL's 1963 Turner Cup. He won the 1965 Cup as general manager and the 1973 Cup as owner.

In 1997, The Hockey News selected Ullyot as the IHL's All-Time Greatest General manager, and the Western Conference championship trophy in the original IHL was named after Ullyot.

"Ken may not have been one of the original founders of the franchise, but with his arrival in 1958 he started a lot of what we still see with the organization today," general manager David Franke said. "If not for Ken Ullyot, this franchise would never be where it is today with the on-ice success and players making their homes in Fort Wayne after retirement.

"Ken was the best coach the Komets had in their 62-year history. He not only kept the Komets going but also helped save the IHL on many occasions. The Franke family has been proud to keep the tradition going that Ken started back in 1958."

The Komets retired jersey No. 58 in honor of Ullyot's first season with Fort Wayne.

"We have lost the father of Komet hockey, who continued to follow his beloved Komets to the end," Komet president Michael Franke said. "It goes without saying that without Ken Ullyot, Komet hockey would never have survived to celebrate 62 years. He was a great supporter of ours over the past 24 years and things will never be quite the same."

Information on services for Ullyot has yet to be determined.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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