Komets Join The ECHL

By Tommy Schoegler

May 18, 2012 Updated May 18, 2012 at 12:03 AM EDT

Fort Wayne (Indiana's NewsCenter)-- The Fort Wayne Komet Hockey Club announced Thursday that Al Sims has agreed to an extension of his contract and will serve his 10th season as Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel when Fort Wayne's inaugural season in the ECHL begins in October.

"I'd like to thank my wife Sue and my family for their support," Sims said. "I'd like to thank the Franke family for their confidence and support and I would like to thank all my former players for their efforts. This is an exciting new challenge moving into the ECHL and I am thrilled to be a part of it."

Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Sims, 59, has guided the Komets to two regular season titles and five league championships since his first year as Komet bench boss in 1989-90. Sims claimed the IHL Turner Cup Championship with the Komets in 1993 and the IHL's Commissioner's Trophy for Coach of the Year. After 1992-93, Sims moved on to further his career serving coaching stints with NHL's Anaheim Mighty Ducks and San Jose Sharks over a period of four years. Sims also experienced additional coaching stints in the IHL, ECHL, CHL and AHL over a span of eight seasons before returning to Fort Wayne for 2007-08.

Sims won the Turner Cup Title in each of the first three seasons after his return for a total of four straight Turner Cup trophies. 2011-12 marked his fifth crown with Fort Wayne when he led the Komets to the CHL Presidents' Cup Championship.

The Toronto, Ontario native is the winningest Komet head coach in the 60-year history of the franchise, completing 2011-12 with a Fort Wayne career record of 404 wins in 689 games plus 72 playoff wins in 105 post-season appearances.

"Al and I have a great working relationship," said Komet General Manager David Franke. "He is committed to making sure we have a championship caliber team moving to the ECHL. Al's five payoff championships as head coach of the Komets speaks volumes about his coaching abilities and his knack for 'peeking' teams at the right time prior to the start of the playoffs. Al and his wife Sue call Fort Wayne home and it all lends to stability and championships on the ice."

2012-13 will be Sims' 38th pro hockey career year since his rookie season of 1973-74 when he made his debut as an NHL defenseman with the Boston Bruins beginning a 10-year NHL playing career.

The Komets will open their 61st season of play in Fort Wayne in October as a proud member of the ECHL. 2012-13 will carry a 72-game schedule including 36 home games and 36 road games and will be announced in the coming weeks.

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