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The Journal Gazette

Monday, September 30, 2019 2:19 pm

Komets, with new goalie, open camp

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

The Komets opened training camp today at Memorial Coliseum. It’s the 30th year of the Franke family owning the team. To put that into perspective, not a single one of the players had been born then.

General manager David Franke told some stories to the new players and gathered media about what those early days were like, when David and team president Michael Franke, and Tammy Steinforth, worked out of a small room in the Coliseum with one table and a phone.

“I promised there would be a sellout on opening night of 1990 and there were a lot of people in town that thought I was nuts, crazy. But we did, we did sell out the building that night. And we sold out a lot of nights after that,” David Franke said.

“I just want to say to the city of Fort Wayne, the Komets fans, hockey fans, sports fans, ‘Let’s show up opening night, Oct. 12, and let’s show Ben Boudreau and Olivier Legault, our coaches, and all the new players that are with this team this year what Komets hockey is like, what it’s like to play in The Jungle, and what it’s like to be a member of this team.’”

The big nugget of news out of the opening luncheon was that goaltender Dylan Ferguson had been assigned by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Ferguson, 21, was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Draft and they quickly traded him to Vegas.

He’s a rookie out of Kamloops of the Western Hockey League. Last season, he was 17-24-1 with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.

The most interesting thing is he’s already played in the NHL; when the Golden Knights were ravaged by injuries, he was called up Oct. 31, 2017, and he played nine minutes in relief Nov. 14, stopping 1 of 2 shots.

“It’s a great feeling here. When I got here, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. But the atmosphere right away of what they want out of us is exactly what I like,” Ferguson said.

The Komets have 30 players on their roster and that number will be whittled down to about 20 by the end of camp.

“Last year, we had a lot of inconsistencies. You might see one team on the ice one night and a different team on the ice another night,” head coach Ben Boudreau said. “So we wanted to go young. We wanted to have young legs, guys who are hungry and driven to push those older guys, push the veterans, push the guys with experience to make sure they’re just as hungry as those young guys.

“We want nobody taking days off, them to know that someone is coming for their jobs. Once we establish that internal competition, I think it’s only beneficial throughout the team.”

jcohn@jg.net