On Monday, one of the Komets' top rookies from 2019-20, forward Mason Bergh, re-signed with Fort Wayne for another season. He had 10 goals and 19 points in 29 games with the Komets last season and also played 25 games with the Ontario Reign of the higher-level American Hockey League.
This afternoon, The Journal Gazette caught up with Bergh and talked to him about coming back to Fort Wayne for another year. Here are the highlights of that conversation.
Bergh on why he re-signed with the Komets: "Going into summer I didn't necessarily know where I was going to end up, but I had some good talks with Benny (Boudreau) and David Franke and we discussed at the end of the year the potential of coming back to Fort Wayne and I knew that they had interest in me coming back, I just didn't know what the plan was or anything. But those talks progressed here in the last month or so. Just a good spot for me to continue developing and just feel comfortable. I like the coaching staff and the area and just being able to play in front of so many fans and the best fans in the league just makes everything that much more enjoyable for me as a player and a person.
"So I'm very excited, I think we're bringing back a lot of good guys and we can build off of where started to play a lot better at the end of the season there and I thought we had a pretty good chance of making a run to the playoffs. Definitely excited to see the guys that are coming back and excited to get going."
On the impact of the Komets bringing back a large group of players from last year's roster: "That was obviously huge, seeing a bunch of players, guys that can continue to help us win (re-sign). Seeing that on Twitter and even talking to some guys from last year and seeing that they were coming back, that was definitely big for me in the sense that I know I'll be comfortable with the group and we can build off where we ended up and we have a lot of potential there. We still have to work and we still have to be ready, but I think we're in a good spot right now and we're excited."
On playing another year at the Coliseum in front of (hopefully) large crowds: "That's fantastic too. My first game in Fort Wayne, I didn't really know what to expect, I had heard a lot of great things and then that opening night, that home opener was pretty awesome to be a part of. It was a sold out building and the fans there are just crazy. That makes playing every night so much more fun. Definitely excited to be back with the organization and the fans are a huge part of that."
On the role the Komets envision for him next season: "Talking with Benny and the rest of the coaching staff, they see me as a player they can trust and I'm reliable and I can play at any position. I played a good amount of minutes last year on the power play, the penalty kill and regular shifts, so I think, personally, just going in and trying to be that same player that they can count on to play in every situation on the ice and just continuing to get better. I think I have more to produce offensively, I started off really well and still scored a decent amount, but I'd like to produce even more and just continue to be a player they can trust."
On how he's tried to get better this offseason during the COVID-19 pandemic: "It was a little bit different towards the start of quarantine, a lot of basement workouts, a lot of shooting in my garage, but living in Minnesota [Bergh is from Eden Prairie, Minnesota], a lot of rinks have opened up ... so it's almost gone back to normal for me as far as preparations for the season. But definitely at the start when everything was shut down, I needed to be a little bit more creative, but I'm in the same position as every other hockey player, so it's pretty much what you can do with what you have and how you can go about trying to get better in a non-traditional standpoint."
Final thoughts: "I'm just excited to get back and hopefully everybody's staying healthy and hopefully we can get started on time and get this thing rolling. I think everybody's champing at the bit here, so I'm definitely excited."