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35 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE ON ICE

by Jim Clark

The Fort Wayne Komets are celebrating their 35th consecutive season of exciting hockey in the International Hockey League. There have been many exciting moments during this time and long-lasting memories have been created for thousands of people. We want to highlight the 31/2 decades of hockey action in Fort Wayne and honor those who have had a part of this successful hockey franchise. The Komets entered the league for the 1952-53 season with Alex Wood as the first head coach.

It took 7 years for the K's to win their first regular season championship when they won the Huber Trophy in the 1959-60 season. The Komets totally dominated that year as they won 50 of the 68 games they played. It was April 23, 1963 when the Fort Wayne Komets captured their first Turner Cup. Komet veteran Eddie Long realized his 10-year dream and carried the Turner Cup around the Memorial Coliseum in front of thousands of dedicated and appreciative fans.

In the late 1970's the K's posted some impressive won-loss records as they fielded a high-powered offense and a stingy defense to win 40 games per season for 3 consecutive years.

The 1983-84 team captured another Huber Trophy when they won 52 regular season games behind the leadership of Wally Schrieber, Robbie Laird, Dale Baldwin and Ron Leef. The 1985-86 season brought about a dramatic change to the Komet organization when Bob Britt acquired the team from Colin Lister. Britt's first move was to hire former IHL and Komet great Robbie Laird as head coach. The team responded with their second Huber Trophy in 3 years and the fans responded with record-breaking attendance figures. Front office awards went to Britt as he was selected "Executive of the Year" and Laird, who was voted "IHL Coach of the Year." With Robbie Laird's rookie coaching season under his belt, and many fine players returning along with some talented newcomers, the Komet organization is optimistic about the 1986-87 hockey season.

In 35 years, there have been many who have donned the Komet uniform and performed on the ice to the best of their ability. Eddie Long, Len Thomson, Lionel Repka, Terry McDougall, Al Dumba, Robbie Irons and Robbie Laird are a few that come to mind. Regardless, there have been hundreds of names who have played a vital role in the success of the Fort Wayne Komets and we salute them.

Thanks for 35 years of excellence on ice!