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  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette The Fort Wayne Komets hockey team pose for a group photo in front of an F-16 Eagle in their new Blacksnake jerseys after a press conference at Heritage Park on Tuesday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Members of the Fort Wayne Komets hockey team speak with 122nd Fighter Wing pilot LtCol Bryan Jandorf after a press conference where the Komets unveiled their new jersey design for Military Appreciation weekend at Heritage Park on Tuesday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette The Fort Wayne Komets unveiled their new jersey design for Military Appreciation weekend during a press conference at Heritage Park on Tuesday. The Komets will be known as the Fort Wayne Blacksnakes for their home games on Friday, November 2nd and Saturday, November 3rd.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets forwards Kevin Miller, left and Aidan Muir, right hang out with teammates in their new Blacksnakes jerseys before a press conference at Heritage Park on Tuesday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Thomas Ebbing and 122nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs Officer 1LT Aaron Pence share a laugh after a press conference where the Komets unveiled their new jersey design for Military Appreciation weekend at Heritage Park on Tuesday.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 5:00 pm

Unveiling Komets, err, Blacksnakes uniforms

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

OK, when it comes to specialty jerseys, the Komets are usually money. With these, particularly so. Check out the photos of what they will look like as the Fort Wayne Blacksnakes this weekend.

And also, above, there's video from the press conference at the 122nd Fighter Wing. Very cool stuff.

This is the first time in the Komets' 67 years they've ever changed their name. It's kind of tongue-in-cheek, and I wonder whether we'll see Blacksnakes on the scoreboard, but it'll be a cool two games regardless.

There's always been a cool relationship between the Komets and the local Air National Guard; when soldiers have been deployed they've rooted for the Komets from afar and either listened to games, watched games or followed diligently the goings on at this very blog (of course).

The impetus for the uniforms being worn Friday and Saturday may have actually come a couple of years ago at SportONE/Parkview Icehouse, where Komets captain Jamie Schaafsma got to talking with Lt. Col. Bryan Jandorf, whose nickname is "Pancake" by the way. I have no idea why and now I regret not asking.

Their kids skated together and they got to talking and that got the Komets onto the base.

“It was really exciting for us (to visit the grounds) and at the end, we got to fly in the simulators and have little battles over Fort Wayne, which was really cool,” Schaafsma said. “It was so great the first year and guys liked it so much, we did it again last year. We’ve kind of built a relationship with these guys. The pilots themselves are great and we try to spend a little time with them, have a few beers and talk. We give them hockey stories and they give us some stories of travel. We’ve kind of built a little relationship. For us to wear this jersey is something special for us.”

I'll have much more on this in Wednesday's Journal Gazette. 

One last thing, I always thought if I bought a pro team here, I'd name it the Blacksnakes. As I recall, when the Freedom indoor football team came here, Blacksnakes was the other finalist in the name-the-team contest. It was my perception that Blacksnakes was the clear winner but the original owner wanted Freedom and so that's what was going to win no matter what happened with the vote. But that's more a guess than anything. 

jcohn@jg.net