FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO) – The Fort Wayne Komets are excited to begin their training camp for this upcoming season Monday.
The Komets are starting the season without their longtime veteran players, on top of having a new coach and very young players. Head Coach Ben Boudreau talked about his expectations for this year’s team saying, “Everybody’s coming in with a blank canvas and they’re gonna be able to paint their own picture. So on that first day, I want everybody to leave the best impression as possible.”
As far as chemistry goes within the team, he said that there will be an adjustment period, although there are some players that have played together before. For instance, he mentions how Brady Shaw won a championship with Shawn St-Amant and that Brett McKenzie and Olivier Galipeau were roommates last year.
Boudreau said “A.J. Jenks and Shawn Szydlowski have been foes and I think that story has been very well told before, but I think the excitement of two guys who know each other, coming in together now. Now they get to gel and there’s a history there.”
A lot of these guys know of each other or have played against each other. Boudreau says “our main goal is finding an opportunity for all of them to get together. But I don’t think it should be any problem at all. We’ve got a lot of great characters in that room and I am really excited to see them come together.”
He said the goal was to get as many leaders or winners on the team as possible. A lot of the players on the team have been captains or assistant captains and have had many championships.
According to Boudreau, they had a vision when putting together the team. He said “a lot of guys just had plans. I think it was the way it worked out.” There were a couple of guys that they just wanted to go younger. He said “one of those guys being Jamie Schaafsma, our captain for the last four years. I have nothing but great things to say about him.” Schaafsma was a teammate of Boudreau and their families were close. He adds “It was a tough decision to make, but I believe we really needed to get younger and we needed to be hungrier.”
He said their group was moving on, like Cody Sol, who had a contract in Slovakia. Many of the veteran players wanted to retire, go to Europe or had other plans.
This year, you will see a lot of guys who have a lot of experience like Anthony Petruzzelli, last year’s “Iron Man,” Brady Shaw, Jason Binkley, and A.J. Jenks. Boudreau said “we were left with the guys that we felt that were best going to suit the Komets the way we want.”
Boudreau says that “it was just the way that the team kind of shaped out. I think what we have now is a good young core that fans will hopefully expect to see for some time.”
For the last two years, Boudreau has been an assistant coach for the Komets. When asked about starting his head coaching career this year he said “I don’t think there’s waking second of this past summer that I haven’t been looking forward to the first day quite honestly. Now we’re right on the cusp of it that the excitement is just palpable. I think it’s an extension of our entire staff and organization and city as well.”
Coach Boudreau said he thinks there is going to be a lot of new faces in the crowd and that the city will have a lot to look forward to.
He said he knows the history of Fort Wayne so one of the biggest goals that they will have in training camp is “getting all of these guys to understand what the expectations are.”
Boudreau said he has lost championships against the Komets and has seen the celebrations. He said he knows what it is like to want to be on the other side of that. “Having been here last two years and the first year we made it so close. All of that is things go through your head every single second of every single day since I was given the opportunity to lead these guys this year.”
He said they have put in a lot of hours trying to get the players that they need and come up with a game plan. “We’re really getting antsy and we can’t wait to get going.”
The Komets’ first game of the 2019-20 season is October 12th at the Memorial Coliseum.