FORT WAYNE – When Komets coach Al Sims needs to get his frustration out – and there has been plenty of it in this dismal season – he goes to work with his wife, Sue, to shovel manure at the Shadarobah Horse Rescue.
It’s really manual work, and you’re around animals, obviously, Sims said. It gets my frustrations out to be there. After a day out there, I’m totally relaxed and totally ready to go to bed. It’s something I’ve found helps me, psychologically, being out there.
Sue Sims has been passionate about horses her entire life and began volunteering at nonprofit Shadarobah about six months ago.
Not long after that, she began getting Al, who has won five championships with the Komets dating back to 1993, to accompany her to the facility at 10113 Goshen Road.
I’ve rode a horse maybe once in my life. So I stay away from them, shovel the stalls, but I try to help out when I can, Al Sims said. If I want to spend time with my wife on my day off, this is how it happens.
The couple hope fans of the Komets will help contribute to Shadarobah, which states its mission as follows: To save horses from slaughter, abuse, and neglect; then place them in loving and nurturing homes.
After they skate tonight at Kalamazoo, Mich., the Komets will play host to Greenville and Evansville on Saturday and Sunday at Memorial Coliseum, while wearing special St. Patrick’s Day-themed jerseys.
Those jerseys will be raffled to benefit the Disabled American Veterans of Allen County and Shadarobah.
Fans interested in learning more about Shadarobah can visit the information table at Sunday’s game, call 260-410-1999 or go to www.shadarobah.com.
The facility needs volunteers and money – Al Sims said it costs about $1,500 a week to keep things running smoothly – along with hay, grain, a front loader and several other things.
Sue Sims works 12-hour days, three days a week, and her husband comes over when the Komets’ schedule allows it.
I’ve gotten into it now and know most of the horses by name, said Al Sims, whose hopes to adopt some of the animals himself when he and Sue have the right home for it.
They come in blind, and there are some that are deaf, some that are beaten or malnourished and you can see their bones and ribs, and they bring them back to health (at Shadarobah) so they are adoptable.
While it may be good for the horses, Sims’ season with the Komets is likely to be shorter than usual.
After winning championships in four of the last five years in the IHL and CHL, the Komets (30-30-3) are on pace to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
They have won only four of their last 14 games, though they defeated Evansville 6-3 on Wednesday at the Coliseum.
With 63 points, the Komets are eight back of Toledo for the eighth and final ECHL playoff spot, with Kalamazoo (67) and Wheeling (65) in between.