After 10 years as a professional, new Komets defenseman Tyler Butler knows how important it is to get off to a good start. So he came to Fort Wayne early. Like two months early.
Butler, who recently turned 33, and his wife, Holly, brought their four daughters to Fort Wayne in early August to get the two oldest set up for school. Their dad started skating with a few of his new teammates Tuesday during informal workouts at Lutheran Health SportsCenter.
``I've just been trying to get settled, and I've had a chance to hang out with a few of the guys,'' Butler said. ``It's always nice to get here early so you can get acclimated.''
Butler is skating with returning Komets Colin Chaulk, Kaleigh Schrock, Chris Auger and Brett Smith. Former Komets Leo Thomas and Gerry Festa are also working out, along with a few younger players who are heading out to other teams' training camps.
``So far the town support has been unbelievable,'' Butler said. ``Komets come up and people are always real excited. That gets my blood going, too.''
Butler played the last two seasons with the Central Hockey League's Arizona SunDogs. He had 10 goals and 39 points last year in 66 games with 111 penalty minutes. He usually averages about 10 goals, 35 points and 80 penalty minutes per season.
``I'm just kind of be a steady defenseman and chip in on the power play by putting some shots on net,'' he said. ``I put up points when the points are there and play the role that needs to be played. Whatever they ask me, I can go from there.''
Butler said it was time for him to leave Arizona and look for a new place to play.
``I'm excited to be here and to put on the uniform and play with these guys and play for the town,'' he said. ``I'm looking forward to playing for a great organization that respects hockey and has a great tradition.''