Komets reaching out to past champions for HOF weekend

Last year's Komets' Hall of Fame class included Ken Roehrs, Don Detter, Ted Rolf, Carey Lucyk, Dale Baldwin and Al Sims. (By Blake Sebring of News-Sentinel.com)

The Fort Wayne Komets announced plans today for what might be their biggest Hall of Fame presentation ever. Besides adding five inductees on March 11, the Komets will also honor members from each of their nine championship teams and host the NHL’s Stanley Cup.

The Komets will play Cincinnati on March 10 and Kalamazoo on March 11. There will be a private party and autograph sessions on March 10 with the inductees and championship players, and the Stanley Cup and the inductions will be held on March 11.

The inductees will be announced later.

“We talked about honoring the 1993 team for its 25th anniversary and then my brother Steve (Komets primary Owner Stephen Franke) came up with the idea of honoring all the championships,” General Manager David Franke said. “As the years go on, you lose contact with them.”

The Komets have won playoff championships in 1963, 1965, 1973, 1993, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012.

Among those who have confirmed they are returning for the weekend are Mathieu Curadeau, Tom Lawson, Michel Massie, Troy Neumeier, Mitch Woods, Brett Smith, D’Arcy Keating, Pokey Reddick and Frankie DeAngelis, along with players who live in Fort Wayne such as Len Thornson, Eddie Long, Colin Chin, Kelly Hurd, Grant Richison and Steve Fletcher and a few others. Franke’s been so busy he hasn’t had a chance to reach out to all of them yet.

The Komets have already received regrets from Al Sims, Bob Fitchner, Dave Smith, Danny Lambert, Paul Willett and others who are coaching. Scott Gruhl and Sean Venedam have other commitments. Franke said he’s also in contact with Jim Hrycuik and some other retired players. Many former players are sending letters to be read during the party.

“It’s tough finding everybody,” Franke said. “The biggest thing is trying to find some of these guys, especially the guys from the first three Turner Cups. It’s a lot of work but those championships were special teams. Not to slight anybody who didn’t win a championship, but when you win it’s always a special feeling and a special deal.”

Franke said he’s still trying track down Kevin MacDonald, Bob Lakso, Jean-Marc Richard, Chick Balon and Merv Dubchak.