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WRITER: Blake Sebring

Fort Wayne's Akil Watts ready for new soccer challenge in Mallorca, Spain

Since he was 4 years old, running along the sidelines while his older brother's team practiced, Akil Watts has always tested himself against players who were older, playing in higher skill levels. This time he's taking a huge leap of faith against the highest level of competition he's ever faced. The Fort Wayne product signed Monday to play soccer with Real Club Deportivo Mallorca in a second-tier Spanish ...

Matt Nord finds common ground between GiGi's Playhouse and Shepherd's House

When Matt Nord started coming to GiGi's Playhouse two years ago, he was pretty shy and rarely looked anyone in the eye. The facility specializes in providing free educational and therapeutic programs for individuals with Down syndrome, and Nord presented a little bit of a challenge. They've finally found Nord's niche and it's a pretty good one. GiGi's board member and volunteer Lorri Meyer was helping the ...

Ryan Sheibley setting an example in the beard world and for his son

Because he's kind of a big guy, once packing on more than 250 pounds of muscle thanks to workouts with boxing and some martial arts, Ryan Sheibley has always been perceived as a tough guy. He was also an Air Force police officer before he destroyed his ankle chasing a suspect so he came home to work as a bouncer and even a repo man. Then there's the beard. He started growing it to look a little meaner, to ...

Pinball Wizard arcade climbs to No. 10 in world rankings

Huntertown's Wizard's World pinball arcade has joined an elite club, climbing to No. 10 in worldwide rankings. When the facility opened December 15, there were 27 machines, making it the state's largest arcade. The facility moved to No. 1 in the Midwest and No. 10 in the world last week when it added its 73rd machine. “In our first year of business, we’ve steadily focused on adding high quality, refurbished ...

Ask the beat writer: Fort Wayne Komets for July 4

As the start of a regular new News-Sentinel.com feature, we'll attempt to answer questions from the fans every two weeks or so. Fans can submit questions by replying to this story, through email at bsebring@news-sentinel.com, on Twitter @blakesebring or on Facebook. Question: How many pounds of M&M’s does Icy get from fans on an average season? Aaron Suozzi News-Sentinel: The easy answer is: Never ...

Glenbrook Dodge American flag is a true Fort Wayne landmark

A couple years ago an older man walked in Glenbrook Dodge's front door and placed three dollar bills on the receptionist's desk. "I want to help toward the maintenance of the flag," the man said. Thank you, he was informed politely, but that's really not necessary. "No, you don't understand, I'm a veteran," the man said, eyes tearing up. "I wish I could do more." That's Glenbrook Dodge owner Doug ...

Who are Fort Wayne's Favorite baseball players?

Who is Fort Wayne’s favorite baseball player? You get to decide by voting for one of these 10 candidates. We’ll announce the results next Monday. Rob Bowen, DH Bowen, a Homestead graduate and a second-round pick in the 1999 draft, played five years in the big leagues with Minnesota, San Diego, Oakland and the Chicago Cubs as a catcher. He made his Major League Baseball debut on Sept. 1, 2003, with ...

Moose Myers wins Fort Wayne Favorite auto racer poll

In the tightest voting in any category yet, Conan "Moose" Myers won the Fort Wayne's Favorite auto racing poll with 27.1 percent of the vote to edge Gene Hartley with 23.1 percent. Larry Zent finished third with 10.9 percent to edge Scott Stovall with 10.6 percent. A 10-time Indianapolis 500 starter from Roanoke, Hartley won the 1955 Milwaukee 200 and was the 1959 United States Auto Club National Midget ...

As NHL free agency opens up...

The signings have been coming hot and heavy over the past two days. That has cost the Komets a chance at signing Ryan Culkin who has signed an American Hockey League contract with Laval. The Komets asked Tucson to sign Culkin for them this season, and he posted career-best numbers in Fort Wayne. Laval had already signed Komets rookie Phelix Martineau and also got former Komet Alex Belzile this weekend.

Fort Wayne Komets announce qualifying offer list, sign Cody Sol and Taylor Crunk

Before announcing the signings of defenseman Cody Sol and forward Taylor Crunk, the Fort Wayne Komets announced their seven-man ECHL protected list. The Komets protected their rights to Marco Roy, Phelix Martineau, Gabriel Desjardins, Mason Baptista, Garrett Thompson, Shawn Szydlowski and Curtis Leonard. That may seem a bit strange considering everyone but Roy has already signed to play somewhere else next ...

Fort Wayne Komets notes on Taylor Crunk, Cody Sol, Bobby Shea and coaching staff

By announcing three player signings Thursday, Komets General Manager David Franke gave himself plenty of flexibility heading into this weekend's ECHL deadline for qualifying offers. Each team can qualify up to eight players off their season-ending rosters by midnight Saturday. That reserves the team's rights to the players until July 16 at which time the team can sign the qualified player to any salary or may ...

Fort Wayne Komets receive honors from PHPA

At the Professional Hockey Players Association meetings in Florida, a couple members of the Komets were honored by their peers. Curtis Leonard was named the top defenseman in the ECHL's Western Conference, sharing the honor with Colorado's Jake Marto, and goaltender Michael Houser receiving the top game saver award in the Western Conference. These awards are voted upon by the union membership. In 71 games ...

Fort Wayne Komets defenseman Curtis Leonard heading to Belfast Giants

After waiting for a few weeks to make the announcement, the Belfast Giants of the Elite Ice Hockey League announced Thursday they have signed Fort Wayne Komets defenseman Curtis Leonard. Leonard, 25, scored three goals and 21 points in 71 games with the Komets last year, but he led the ECHL for most of the season in plus-minus with a plus-34. It's been a remarkable progression for a player who came to the ...

Fort Wayne Komets sign three players ahead of qualifying offers

From a Komets press release: The Komets announced Thursday that three players have inked agreements to return to the Fort Wayne roster for 2018-19. Forward and team captain Jamie Schaafsma and defensemen Jason Binkley and Ryan Lowney have each agreed to terms. That gives the Komets four returning players from last season, including rookie forward Anthony Petrozzelli who signed earlier. The Komets have until ...

Jamie Schaafsma excited to return as Fort Wayne Komets captain

Though he's 35 years old and has been a professional player since 2004, Jamie Schaafsma only thought about retirement this summer just long enough to know he doesn't want to. "It's always in the back of your mind when you are my age, but the thing about it is I love the game too much," Schaafsma said. "It's hard for me to even picture not being able to play hockey." It's hard for the Fort Wayne Komets, too, ...

Fort Wayne's Shelby Gruss named captain of U.S. Wheelchair Basketball Team

Fort Wayne's Shelby Gruss has received a remarkable honor as a member of the United States Women's World Championship wheelchair basketball team. After being on the team for little more than a year, the Bishop Luers graduate has been named co-captain as the team prepares for next month's 2018 IWBF World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. A former University of Illinois player, Gruss, 26, made the team after a ...

Fort Wayne Komets assistant coach Olivier Legault driving toward ultimate goal with part-time job

Every eventually successful professional hockey coach has a great story about a part-time job they took to continue following their full-time passion. Especially when they are starting their careers, assistant coaches almost always need a part-time job during the offseason. Former Komets coach John Torchetti drove a cab in Winston-Salem, N.C., current Komets coach Gary Graham sells fireworks and assistant Ben ...

History Center includes Bob Chase's Mad Anthonys Red Coat in online collection

The History Center posted a collection of photographs on its Facebook and Instagram pages Monday which commemorate the 61 years of the Mad Anthonys Children's Foundation golf tournament. Among the highlights are the Red Coat long-time WOWO and Komets broadcaster Bob Chase received from the group in 2010. Chase's children recently donated the jacket and the tie Chase wore to the museum. He passed away in ...

Former Fort Wayne Komet Kaleigh Schrock leaving Parkview IceHouse for Trine University

After three years as the director of athletic development at the Parkview IceHouse, former Komet Kaleigh Schrock is moving to Trine University where he'll be the school's new youth program director and assistant ice arena manager. He'll also have opportunities to work with the Trine hockey teams. Schrock, 33, retired from the Komets in 2015 to move to the IceHouse where one of his biggest accomplishments was ...

Father Time can't catch up to Baer Field Motorsports Park racer Don Skaggs, 79

As Don Skaggs celebrated his 79th birthday in May, his wife Marcia asked if this was his last year racing, and if it was, reminded him to make sure he visited everywhere he wanted to go. He just gave a noncommittal grunt and of course, showed up at the track again the following Saturday. "I didn't agree to it," he said with a chuckle. "I'd like to race when I'm 80 at least so I'll probably have another year ...