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The Journal Gazette

Monday, June 26, 2017 7:20 pm

Memorial Coliseum drive named after Bob Chase

ROSA SALTER RODRIGUEZ | The Journal Gazette

The late Bob Chase added one more accolade to his distinguished broadcasting career on Monday.

Memorial Coliseum's board of trustees voted to rename the circle drive in front of the box office after the long-time announcer for the Fort Wayne Komets.

Chase, who died in 2016 on Thanksgiving morning at age 91, will now be memorialized in signs indicating Bob Chase Way at the turnoff for the drive on Coliseum Boulevard and in front of the building/

He spent 63 in broadcasting for WOWO radio and the local hockey team's games, winning numerous awards, including a Sagamore of the Wabash and the Mad Anthonys' Red Coat honor.

"He was a real friend to the building," said Randy Brown, Coliseum executive vice president and general manager Randy Brown said, adding he believes Chase's longevity with one sports organization is second only to the 67 years Vin Scully spent as broadcaster with the Dodgers' major league baseball team.

Chase's was not the only honor approved Monday by the Coliseum board.

Now marking the 30th year since construction began on the arena building in 1987, the board also allowed itself to be honored with a marker from the United States Auto Club.

The marker notes it for being instrumental in the group's founding by hosting its first midget auto race in 1955.

There are now 32 markers around Indiana honoring "people, places and things, including products" that led to the important place Indiana now holds in the racing world, said Greg Perigo of Fort Wayne, board member of the Indiana Racing Memorial Association.

The marker on green space in front of the entrance was unanimously approved after Mac Parker, board president, asked if the facility had a policy on what kind of markers to accept.

He said he wanted to keep the entrance looking "pristine."

Brown said all markers or memorials must be approved by the Allen County Council of Veterans, but he would assist in coming up with a policy in writing for the board's next meeting.

Brown also revealed the facility was used for 10 days earlier this month by a "mystery band" rehearsing for an arena tour. He said he could now say the band was Nickelback, a Canadian rock group.

Brown said the venue agreed to keep the band's time in town a secret. But then members posted on social media photos of themselves in Fort Wayne spots that gave them away toward the end of their stay.

"We didn't out them. They did it themselves," he said, noting the venue got an effusive thank-you note from a band manager nonetheless.

The band couldn't do one of their upcoming shows at the Coliseum because 20,000 seats are needed for the financials to work out, Brown said.

But there was a hint at an upcoming stop in Fort Wayne in the note Brown read to the board. He said the venue will get a cut of the band's show in Indianapolis that was postponed until August because of heavy rain.  

rsalter@jg.net