Fort Wayne mayor Thomas Henry continued the celebration on Thursday afternoon, declaring July 8 as “Fort Wayne Komet Day” in the city, six days after the Komets won the 2021 Kelly Cup championship.
Kelly, along with members of the Komets front office, coaching staff and players, assembled at the Mayor’s Office to honour the young men and staff for their achievement of reaching their first Kelly Cup championship in franchise history.
“What a contribution this team has made in the city of Fort Wayne, not just recently, and not just winning a sports competition, but the economic impact the Fort Wayne Komets have had in Fort Wayne for decades now,” Mayor Henry stated at the celebratory press conference. “Not only do we have a professional hockey team in Fort Wayne, we have a championship as well.”
“For you citizens who have never been to a hockey game, you should begin to really experience what hockey is all about,” Mayor Henry added. “The talent and work that goes on behind the scenes to make a team the type of team we witnessed winning a championship.”
Following Mayor Henry’s reading of a proclamation, Komets Vice President and General Manager David Franke spoke about the plan following their last game in 2020.
“The plan worked,” Franke said of the roadmap that began on the last day Fort Wayne played a game in mid-March of last season. “The plan was to delay our start until the COVID-19 pandemic could slow down a bit. People on our staff kept our players safe. We did over 700 rapid tests for COVID from the time we started until the time we became 85 percent vaccinated and we didn’t have one positive test in the whole group.”
“It is still unbelievable in a COVID year that we were able to pull this off,” he added. “It is very exciting and winning never gets old.”
“This is an unbelievable experience,” Komets head coach Ben Boudreau said during the press conference. “There are so many people with their hard work that made that successful. This was a miracle, we were so close to not playing. For the season to play out the way it did, it is something that will impact our lives for as long as we live here.”
This was Fort Wayne’s tenth overall championship in their 69-year franchise history.