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Tailing the Komets: St. Pierre gets a surprise in trip back

Former Komet Kevin St. Pierre served as an emergency back-up for the Kansas City Mavericks on Friday night. (By Blake Sebring of News-Sentinel.com)

Kevin St. Pierre thought this would be a nice trip to Fort Wayne to see some former teammates and his son Jake who works at Franke Metal Plating. Instead, it turned into another opportunity for his hobby.

Fort Wayne Komets fans got a nice surprise during warm-ups before Friday’s game against the Kansas City Mavericks when the former Komets great appeared as the Mavericks’ emergency back-up goaltender for an ill player. St. Pierre, 42, last played in Fort Wayne in 2006-07 and holds most of the Komets goaltending records, including career shutouts with 23, 43 wins in 2003-04 and best goals against average in a season with 1.98 set in 2003-04 when he was the United Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player.

During four seasons with the Komets, St. Pierre had a record of 147-54-13. He still holds four of the Komets’ top six goals against averages for a season. The last time he played professionally was two years ago as an emergency back-up for Wichita when stopped 11 of 13 shots before losing in overtime to Idaho.

Now he lives in Wichita, Kans., and is in his first season serving as the Mavericks’ bus driver. St. Pierre and his buddy Tim Acheson formed KTE Express trucking company in May, and they drive for Kansas City and Allen in the ECHL, the Colorado and Oklahoma club college teams and junior squads in Oklahoma City and Cheyenne, Wyo. During the summer, they drive for baseball teams.

St. Pierre said the last time he played for fun was last April in a men’s rec league team, and he had to scramble before last night’s game to find enough equipment to be able to dress.

“These guys started laughing when I walked in with gear,” St. Pierre said, pointing at some of his new teammates warming up outside the dressing room. “All they think is the bus driver is playing hockey now because they don’t know me. Usually, I always bring my gear with me for these situations, and the one time I don’t… Lesson learned. Next time I’ll just bring my stuff. It is what it is. If I have to play, I’ll just go out there and get in front of the puck and whatever happens, happens. I have nothing to lose.”

He borrowed most of his equipment from former teammate Kevin Bertram and he borrowed his skates from a Mavericks player. Because he was signed as an emergency back-up, the only way St. Pierre could play is if starter Tyler Parsons gets injured.

“It feels kind of weird walking in there,” he said. “Hopefully, I go to the right locker room.”

St. Pierre had been driving truck since he retired, filling in on the side by being the bus driver for the Wichita Thunder. Now he’s driving bus full-time.

“When I played, I couldn’t sleep on the bus so I was awake at night anyways,” he said. “When I started driving truck, I drove at night so I got used to it. When you get tired you pull over and get some fresh air. They aren’t in a rush to get there.”

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