The surname Sims hangs from the rafters at Memorial Coliseum. Skating beneath that – and all the pressure that may come with it – is not entirely new to Jordan Sims, who was a member of the opposing team the night that banner was raised in 2017.
However, the story is about to go to a whole new level.
The Komets acquired Jordan Sims today in a trade with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, bringing him to the city in which he was born and to the team for which his father both played and coached.
“I don’t know how many guys get to (do) something like this,” Jordan Sims said. “Just to go back to where you where you were born and to go back where your family has been a part of the organization in such a big way. It’s a unique opportunity that I look forward to taking advantage of. I’m sure a lot of people will want to talk to me, and I’ve met a lot of them before, and it’ll be a really cool experience.”
Jordan Sims, 28, a forward, has played against the Komets with Evansville and Cincinnati. He had two goals and 10 points in 14 games with the Swamp Rabbits this season.
His acquisition completes the Nov. 5 trade of Thomas Ebbing to Greenville for future considerations.
Jordan Sims’ father, Al, is one of the 18 people to have a number retired by the Komets. Al Sims, who had an extensive playing career in the NHL – he was Bobby Orr’s defense partner with the Boston Bruins – finished his playing days with the Komets in 1989. He went on to coach them to championships in 1993, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012.
Al Sims coached in various other cities, including a season as head coach of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, but his greatest success was always in Fort Wayne, hence the banner with his name and the No. 504 – signifying his franchise record for coaching victories.
“I say, ‘I’m from Fort Wayne, Indiana,’” Jordan Sims said. “Obviously we bumped around so much … and the family currently lives in New Jersey. My mom is from California and my dad is from Toronto. … But when it comes to Fort Wayne, I lived there (twice) and my dad coached there. And being around that city and that rink, it’s a special place in my heart for sure.”
Jordan Sims played college hockey at the University of Connecticut from 2010 to 2014, his most prolific season being his junior year, when he had 10 goals and 31 points in 37 games. He said he prides himself on being a competent two-way center who can play special teams.
Al Sims coached Jordan with the Evansville IceMen in 2015-16, when Jordan had career best numbers in goals (17), points (46) and plus/minus rating (plus-18), even getting a two-game call-up to San Jose of the American Hockey League.
Jordan’s older brother, Tyler, was a backup goalie with the Komets in 2009-10 – Al was the coach then – but Tyler never got into a game.
Tyler was born in West Berlin, Germany, when Al Sims was playing there, and Tyler’s minor-league career in the ECHL, Central Hockey League and AHL lasted until 2011. Jordan was born during Al Sims’ first season as a head coach, 1989-90, in the original International Hockey League.
The Komets play Wednesday at Cincinnati, where Jordan Sims played for the Cyclones in 2016-17 – he totaled 15 goals and 44 points in 59 games – and he played three games to begin this season.
“I didn’t expect to get traded (to Greenville) and it was a bit of a shock. It was positive, though,” Jordan Sims said. “I’d never been to Greenville and it was a bit of an adjustment. I got another call, though, and here we go again. But to find out it was to Fort Wayne and to have some familiarity with the city and the rink and the staff, and to have known (coach Gary Graham) and (general manager David Franke) and have some comfort), I wasn’t as taken aback.
“I let it sink in that it was Fort Wayne, and I’m really excited about the opportunity for sure.”
At 8 p.m. Friday, the Komets play host to the Toledo Walleye at Memorial Coliseum. It will be the second time in just over a week that a native of Fort Wayne, and the son of a legendary ex-Komets player, will get to play in his hometown; Jackson Leef, son of Ron Leef, played his Coliseum game Nov. 22 for the Brampton Beast in its loss to the Komets.
The trade of Ebbing to Greenville was made when Shawn Szydlowski, last season’s ECHL MVP and leading scorer, returned to Fort Wayne from Norway. Ebbing, who was scoreless in six games with Fort Wayne, has three goals and four points in nine games with the Swamp Rabbits.