Following their split with the Colorado Avalanche, the Fort Wayne Komets are looking for another parent club, but it might be too late to partner with an NHL franchise.
The Komets and Avalanche are splitting after two seasons, with the Avalanche forming a new agreement with the Colorado Eagles. While there are currently four NHL squads that do not have an entry in the ECHL, the sense in Fort Wayne is that it might be too late in the offseason to sign a formal agreement with a parent club.
Additionally, the Komets do not sound inclined to go back to the independent model they once used, claiming that it would be too difficult to build a competitive roster. Therefore, the approach favored by some is to find a form a working agreement that could attract more talented players while giving the Komets greater flexibility. More from the Journal Gazette:
“Typically, those things take a little bit more time to cultivate,” [coach Gary] Graham said. “It’s not that it couldn’t happen. We’re talking with a few other teams (about a working agreement, a less-formal version of an affiliation).”
A news release stated the Komets “enjoyed” the partnership with the Avalanche and are leaving it in “amicable fashion.”
“The No. 1 thing from our end is just more roster flexibility with guys coming in and out,” Graham said. “I think last year it didn’t work out from both sides, and that’s probably why management on both sides agreed to mutually part ways.
As the Komets try to find a suitable arrangement before next season, the Avalanche are prepping to set up shop in Loveland with the Eagles, who will also be affiliated with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Given that Loveland is only about 50 miles north of Denver, the Avalanche are touting the regional connection between the two teams. More from The Gazette:
“We are thrilled to finalize a partnership with the organization that truly put the sport of hockey on the map in the state of Colorado,” Eagles president and general manager Chris Stewart said in a news release. “We feel that this will be a very advantageous partnership for the Eagles, the Avalanche and the fans of this great sport throughout the state of Colorado. We want to be a part of helping the Avalanche continue to thrive in Colorado and we know that the Avs can help us to win our first Kelly Cup.”
The Budweiser Events Center’s location in Loveland is a plus.
“We’re excited for this new affiliation with the Eagles, a proven and established organization in Colorado with a geographical proximity that will benefit both the Avalanche and the Rampage,” Avalanche assistant general manager Craig Billington said.
The Eagles played as an independent franchise during the 2015-2016 season.