When he grew up playing hockey in Fort Wayne, Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock used to think how cool it would be to play with Komets like Guy Dupuis someday. Now Schrock is one of Dupuis' teammates and a fellow Turner Cup champion.
He's also trying to help the next generation of Fort Wayne hockey players, coaching roller hockey players at The Plex. There's only a little bit of hero worship going on.
“Kaleigh is actually kind of a fun guy, but he does push us pretty hard, though,” said goaltender Brandon Porter, 13. “That's why I'm dedicated to him the most … I just like having fun and playing with one of the Komets. It's actually nice to have someone who is local coaching us.”
Because Colin Chaulk is ice hockey director at Canlan Ice Sports, Schrock decided to concentrate on roller hockey at The Plex. This is his first year coaching. Besides keeping his legs in shape, roller hockey skills can also translate to ice hockey.
“I thought it would be a good start for me to get my feet wet and run my own camp, and I wanted to help out and give back,” Schrock said. “I started with the basics because this is such a learning experience for me, too.
“I'm very lucky because the kids that I have, not one of them has a bad attitude. They all have fun out there and they all learn. That's what I was kind of afraid of at first. What if they aren't getting better or learning? I think all the kids have done an excellent job.”
Schrock runs two sessions a week, with practices on Monday night and games on Tuesday nights. There's currently one group that includes three players all under age 7. Mostly it looks like an hour-long game of keep-away, which Schrock somehow usually loses.
“We work on backward skating a lot,” Schrock said. “None of them thought they could do it, but now they are doing it. I get a great feeling knowing that I helped them learn something. The little guys are so funny. Sometimes I don't think they understand a word I say, but they stare at me all googly eyes. I joke around with them, and it goes over their head.”
After the munchkins are done, the older players come out and the real workout begins.
“There's a lot of stickhandling and skating,” said Braydon Schmitz, 15. “He's one of my favorite Komet players, and he's a good skating coach.”
The interesting part, at least to the parents, is how the teenagers actually listen to an adult. They never miss a word.
“I'm learning stuff I never knew about,” said Luke McCarney, 15. “I've been talking to him about the Komets, and lots of drills I can do at home. He helps me a lot.”
The next session is Aug. 9-Oct. 4 and costs $95 plus a $15 jersey for first-time participants. There's a free session to try inline hockey 6-7 p.m. Tuesday. Players can register online at plexsports.com or at The Plex.
Eagles sign MacMillan
Brad MacMillan is now a former Komets forward after signing with Colorado of the Central Hockey League. The right wing led the Komets last year with 233 penalty minutes and scored seven goals and nine points in 44 games.
Although he led the Komets in penalty minutes the last two seasons and was part of Fort Wayne's last two Turner Cup championship teams, MacMillan was a free agent this summer after the Komets did not offer him a contract.