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1990s Archive

Franchise deal shifts to slow gear

By BLAKE SEBRING
of The News-Sentinel
No news may not be good news for Fort Wayne hockey fans*'’
A proposed deal to bring the Flint franchise to Fort Wayne to replace the Komets was supposed to take another step yesterday. The prospective owners have said no to a Memorial Coliseum rent proposal. The new group, headed by Stephen J. Franke, gave the coliseum a proposal yesterday.
There was no word on the coliseum’s reaction. Coliseum General Manager Phil Olofson was unavailable for comment, as were members of the Franke family.

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New Komets wont usurp fans memories

STEVE  WARDEN 
First-year coach Alex Wood.
Mooee Lallo talking afterward in the trainer’s room about his defensemen not playing so good.
The Big Redhead in No. 11.
A1 Dumba’s class.
Taunts at Coach Ralph Keller from upper section 26 during another loss. “Fire ’em up, Ralph!”
The guy in section 4 yelling at refree Sam Sisco, “Sisco, you’re an idiot!”
Merv Dubchak’s slap shot.

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City investors ‘seriously’ court Flint franchise

By BLAKE SEBR1NG Of The News-Sentinel

The president and largest stockholder of the Flint Spirits said negotiations are continuing in an effort to bring the International Hockey League franchise to Fort Wayne, and an announcement could be made by the end of the week.

Dr. Harold Mallon said last night from his home in Grand Blanc, Mich., that a group of Fort Wayne investors'contacted him in Vancouver, British Columbia, over the weekend and that he considers it a serious effort to buv the Flint franchise.

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Mystery shrouds Spirits

Reports of deal called premature’

By BLAKE SEBRING Of The News-Sentinel

The mystery of who is negotiating to replace the Fort Wayne Komets seemed to clear up yesterday, but a fog of denials has quickly clouded the issue once again.

There may be a Fort Wayne family negotiating to replace the Fort Wayne Komets in the International Hockey League, but one family mentioned is denying the rumors.

The Journal-Gazette and the Flint Journal both reported yesterday that the Franke family is behind the proposal to bring the Flint Spirits franchise to Fort Wayne. Not true, said WOWO General Sales Manager Mike Franke.

"It’s a very, very premature story,” Franke said. “It’s almost to the point that it is very strange from a journalistic standpoint I have had no discussions with anyone and I don’t know anything. Quite frankly, that story is very disturbing.”

When asked if other members of his family have talked about buying a hockey team, Franke declined to comment. “Everyone is their own keeper,” he said.

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Franchise deal shifts to slow gear

By BLAKE SEBRING of The News-Sentinel

No news may not be good news for Fort Wayne hockey fans*'’

A proposed deal to bring the Flint franchise to Fort Wayne to replace the Komets was supposed to take another step yesterday. The prospective owners have said no to a Memorial Coliseum rent proposal. The new group, headed by Stephen J. Franke, gave the coliseum a proposal yesterday.

There was no word on the coliseum’s reaction. Coliseum General Manager Phil Olofson was unavailable for comment, as were members of the Franke family.

Read more ...

Marketing called key to hockey's future in city

By BLAKE SEBR1NG of The News-Sentinel

Multiple choice: the Fort Wayne Komets may be rescued again at the last moment from a) bankruptcy, b) poor management; c) lack of interest; d) the changing times; e) all of the above.

The correct answers don’t really matter. The real question is will this be a temporary' fix? Will the Komets be faced with the same situation again in five years?

After all, Fort Wayne is no longer the jewel or largest city in the International Hockey League. The league now includes such cities as, Milwaukee, San Diego,Kansas City, Pheonix, Salt Lake , and, yes, Albany. Fort Wayne isn’t even the largest city in the state with an IHL team now, falling second to Indianapolis.

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Spirited Franke coliseum negotiations hit Round 3

By BLAKE SEBRING Of The News-Sentinel

It's the start of Round 3 in the Stephen Franke Memorial Coliseum negotiations battle, and this one may go the distance to decide matters.

The coliseum faxed it's second offer to Franke yesterday in Chillicothe, Mo., after spending Thursday working on it. That was after representatives for Franke gave the coliseum a rough idea of what they hoped for.

Frankly it was so astonishing, I doubt we could even touch it," said coliseum General Manager Phil Olofson. “So, we put together something else.”

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Chilling effects put hockey future on slippery slope

STEVE WARDEN

The Komets are gone with the wind.

And frankly, Fort Wayne, you don’t give a damn.

What was the oldest franchise in the International Hockey League is past tense. The Komets are as much a part of Fort Wayne history as General Mad Anthony Wayne, Wolf & Dessauer’s and Ronald Reagan’s boot prints in the mud and flood of 1982.

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Hockey deal looks optimistic; fans await word

By REGGIE HAYES

Of The News-Sentinel

It may be another week before the first step toward returning an International 'Hockey League team to Fort Wayne becomes official

Although most parties involved say a deal is almost set, details of an agreement to sell the Flint Spirits have not yet been finalized. Fort Wayne native Stephen Franke, president of Midwest Quality Gloves Inc.,

in Chillicothe, Mo., is the head of a group seeking to purchase the Spirits and move the franchise to Fort Wayne. The team would replace David Welker‘s franchise which moved to Albany, N.Y.

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Frankes shoot out to fresh start with K’s

By BLAKE SEBRING

Of The News-Sentinel

The new owners of the Fort Wayne Komets would like to bring the franchise to new heights by employing some old tricks.

Stephen J. Franke and his family began boldly implementing plans yesterday in a press conference announcing the purchase of the Flint franchise and its transfer to Fort Wayne.

The team will replace the David Welker-owned franchise that moved to Albany, N.Y. The IHL Board of Governors is expected to unanimously approve the Flint move next week.

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Hockey-loving family teams up, means business

By BLAKE SEBRING Of The New-Sentinel

It’s unlikely that any one member of the Franke family could have bought and directed the new Fort Wayne Komets International Hockey League franchise. It is the family’s unity that will make the operation work.

The most important thing about the new family business, the Frankes say, is that it is a business. But they are also fans of the game.

I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn't had my two brothers with me," said Stephen Franke, the new chairman, majority stockholder and chief executive officer of the Komets. “I don’t think they could have done it without my financial clout to pull it together. It's a real good team because mutually we support each other and collectively we’re stronger than we are individually”

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Komets owner caused mess, coliseum manager says

By BLAKE SEBRING Of The News-Sentinel

Tired of taking the blame from Komets owner David Welker, Memorial Coliseum’s manager said the main iseue with the franchise's proposed move to Albany, N.Y., isn’t money from parking and concessions, but poor management.

Yesterday, General Manager Phil Olofson released five years of coliseum financial figures relating to the Komets. The figures show the franchise has been earning less money each year though the coliseum was charging less.

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