Even in sports where competition is supposed to decide everything, sometimes who you know is more important than what you know.
The Fort Wayne Komets announced Wednesday they are signing an affiliation agreement with the NHL's Anaheim Ducks and their AHL farm team, the Norfolk Admirals. The real reason discussions got started? Former Komets player and coach Bruce Boudreau, now the boss behind Anaheim's bench, heard the Komets were moving to the ECHL.
The Tampa Bay Lightning had been the parent club of Norfolk before deciding to move to Syracuse this year. Anaheim had been in Syracuse and moved to Norfolk, which did not have an ECHL affiliate. Boudreau suggested Fort Wayne.
``Isn't that usually how it happens in business and life?'' Boudreau said. ``You end up going back to the people who you have had good relationships with. For me, I think it's great to be associated with Fort Wayne again.''
Boudreau played for the Komets in 1990-91 and 1991-92, then followed Al Sims' first stint as the Komets' next coach in 1993-94. He was fired in December 1994 but has maintained ties with the Komets owners, the Franke brothers.
``As far as people knowing people in the organizations, it's a perfect fit,'' Boudreau said. ``Al worked for Anaheim. We all think Fort Wayne is as good as any minor league city in the country. For us, why wouldn't we want to be associated with a city with that kind of tradition and history? I'm hoping it's a great association. The Komets will feel it's a good situation because they know the people so well.''
There are many relationships already built. One of Boudreau's assistants is former Komet Bob Woods, and Norfolk's Assistant General Manager is former Indianapolis Ice coach Bob Ferguson. Anaheim's Director of Player Development is Todd Marchant, the brother of former Komet Terry Marchant. Former Cleveland Lumberjack coach Rick Paterson is the team's director of player personnel.
``When they said they were looking for an ECHL team, I didn't know if they were affiliated with anybody, but I knew they'd be as good an organization or better than any other organization to get involved in,'' Boudreau said. ``They all do a great job of recruiting and people want to play in Fort Wayne because not only is a great city, but it's a great hockey market. We need players, and where best to go but to one of the best organizations around?''
``I think it's a good fit, and I think it will work out really well.''