You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Ice Chips

  • Some updates for you
    I don't have anything new to report on the alleged merger between the ECHL and CHL -- wouldn't it actually be an absorption of the CHL?
  • 18 Komets road games on TV this season
    Eighteen Komets road games this season will be broadcast live on MyTV Fort Wayne. Play-by-play duties will be handled by 21 Alive’s Tommy Schoegler and Kent Hormann.
  • Komets sign three players
    The Komets added goaltender Eric Levine, forward Nicola Levesque and defenseman Paul Arnott to their roster Tuesday, giving them 24 players so far for the upcoming season.
Advertisement
Justin Cohn/The Journal Gazette
The career of Komets captain Colin Chaulk could be over.

What's really ailed Chaulk

K's captain worse than public knows

It's hard to imagine anyone questioning Colin Chaulk's toughness, but some fans were doing exactly that as the Komets' captain muddled his way through his last nine games with no goals and five assists.

What those fans didn't know was that Chaulk, 36, could barely lift his arm, that his body seemed to be deteriorating, and that he felt helpless to stop it.

"I probably shouldn't have been playing," he said late Wednesday. "But I thought I was well enough and that things would get better."

Chaulk is regarded as the greatest leader in the 61-year history of the franchise – he's led them to five championships since joining them in 2002 – and he's had his share of scares off the ice.

In 2008-09, a MRSA staph infection in his foot cost him 35 games and almost his career.

It seemed extraordinarily bad luck when he got another staph infection in his other foot last December, this one costing him 26 games.

But that infection was more debilitating that most people knew. Doctors believed they had it under control, Chaulk said, but it came back and he suddenly had 103 fever, lost consciousness and was taken to a local hospital Jan. 11.

Chaulk said he has since had problems with his brachial plexus and phrenic nerve, parts of the spine that control movement of the limbs and breathing.

"It's messing up my speech sometimes. There's paralysis of the muscles, which are weakening, and it's like there's nothing I can do," Chaulk said. "And it's getting worse. … My arm basically feels like it's asleep and my left eye closes a little sometimes, which is a little frightening. It's just bizarre what's going on. I have no strength of control or my left thumb and left index finger."

With the Komets still hoping to make the playoffs – they were eliminated from contention with their 8-2 loss to Reading on Wednesday – he came back to play from Feb. 16 to March 8. Since then, he's been behind the bench as Al Sims' assistant coach.

For the season, Chaulk totaled two goals and 22 points in 28 games, though he was also limited by a shoulder injury and a groin strain, which took him out of the lineup for good in March. Chaulk, who has 184 goals and 684 points in 578 games with the Komets, doesn't know if he will retire or continue playing next season.

"I need to get healthy before I decide," he said, adding the Komets have been great about making sure he gets the best treatment for his ailments.

He wants to be a head coach someday and many believe he'll someday be the Komets' head coach eventually, though indications are Sims will be back next season.

If Chaulk's playing career is done, he hopes will fans will understand why he looked off in his final games.

"I think people should know what's going on," said Chaulk, as the Komets traveled to Elmira, N.Y., for Friday's game.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

Advertisement