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The Journal Gazette

Friday, October 13, 2017 1:00 am

K's hope relationship with Coyotes pays off

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Komets had success last season, finishing with the fourth-best regular-season record and reaching the second round of the postseason, and they did so as an independent team.

This season, they will be affiliated with the NHL's Arizona Coyotes.

So what does that mean exactly? It means the Komets will get players sent to them by the Coyotes and their American Hockey League team, the Tucson Roadrunners, to develop. One such player they've already received is goaltender Michael Houser.

The Komets have had mixed results in their two previous affiliations since joining the ECHL. They had a less-than-fruitful one with the Anaheim Ducks, who didn't send the level of talent Fort Wayne was expecting, while the affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche paid off with a trip to the 2016 conference finals with players such as Troy Bourke, Garrett Meurs and Spencer Martin and the development of players like Roman Will.

However, there was also frustration from both sides. The Avalanche was disappointed that its prospects weren't always given the most playing time, while Fort Wayne lost batches of players at a time to call-ups, sometimes to not even play in the AHL.

The goal for the Komets this season is to have a mutually beneficial relationship with the Coyotes.

“Management worked extremely hard to find the right partner and the credit goes to (general manager) David Franke for finding the right affiliation with Arizona,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “Everything with Arizona has been great since we landed the affiliation. It's really exciting times ahead of us.”