Early in the day Wednesday, the Komets signed forward Lindsay Sparks from the University of Michigan. Because he's 5-foot-9, 176 pounds, there were questions about why the Komets can't seem to sign any players of significant size lately.
Komets general manger David Franke spoke with The News-Sentinel regarding a number o ftopics.
Is it harder at this time of the year to sign forwards with size?
"It's not that hard, but the whole deal about it is finding guys who are close and who are immigration-friendly. Sparks was two hours away at the University of Michigan and he comes down and we can put him on a B1 and he can play tonight. A B1 is a temporary work visa.
"We went for this kid because Labardo was sick yesterday, and we needed somebody to come in and play who can help us out for the last three games. He was highly recommended by David McNab the assistant GM with the Ducks."
Can you elaborate a little about the immigration status?
"He's OK because of the fact that our season will end on Saturday and then he'll go back to school on Sunday. He can play with the B1 as an amateur. If he signed a contract, he'd have to have a B1 visa and there's no way to get that done in time.
"They can play five games or 10 days until their amateur contract expires. After that they have to have a B1.visa as an amateur."
So, how does that work when trying to sign a player to a full contract?
"I can bring guys in on a substitution type deal. That's what we're doing with Labardo and Gagnon, we are substituting those two guys for two guys who aren't here any more. Gagnon is taking the spot of Daniel Nycholat.
"There's a lot of compliance with the league and immigration law. Tomorrow, Labardo and Gagnon are going to have to drive up to Detroit and go across the boarder and come back and get their P1 so they can play Friday and Saturday because their B1s expire tonight."
Is that why you signed so many guys later in the season who were in the Komets' training camp, because they were already under P1 visas?
"That and every player in the league is basically employed by the ECHL so if you get a guy from another team in the ECHL, he's eligible to play for you. John Dunbar is a Canadian kid but he was on a P1 because he was in our training camp. If you are bringing in another Canadian who was not with another ECHL team and he's not on an amateur tryout, he has to have a P1 with you before he can play."
So even if you acquire the rights to someone and need him to play immediately, he can't until he gets a P1 visa under your paperwork, correct?our
"It can be complicated. If we still had games to play, once Lindsay Sparks' tryout is over, if he was continue to be with us, I would have to get him a P1 in order for him to play for us. You can only do tryout contracts with amateur players or players you are bringing up from an A league and then only or five games or 10 days."
How long does it take to get a P1 visa?
"If you expedite it and pay the processing fee, a week-to-10 days. If you don't expedite it, 30 days minimum."