I reported Wednesday that Kyle Hass, who led the ECHL in penalty minutes last season, had retired from professional hockey and was released by the Komets.
Now, I know why.
Haas confirmed today that he is going to pursue a boxing career.
“These past nine months or so, I really fell back in love with boxing,” Haas said via text message, adding he hopes to take his first professional bout in the coming months.
This makes some sense; when I talked to Haas over the summer, he expounded on all the off-ice boxing training he was undertaking to ready for this season.
Haas, 26, had eight fights last season, one short of league-leader Ben Wilson.
Haas totaled 164 penalty minutes, along with two goals and nine points, in just 45 games as a rookie out of the University of Windsor. He was selected the Komets’ Most Improved Player by reporters and team staff.
He most famously was a central figure in the Jan. 31 brawls at Jacksonville, Florida, that resulted in 29 penalties, 163 penalty minutes and 28 games' worth of suspensions, including 16 games for the Icemen's Emerson Clark and six apiece for Fort Wayne's Haas and Chase Stewart. The fisticuffs were the aftermath of Jacksonville's Dajon Mingo concussing Fort Wayne's leading scorer, Brady Shaw, with a hit Jan. 30 that resulted in neither penalty nor suspension.
Haas has been training for his next career in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
In other Komets-related news, while fans were hoping the team might sign goaltender Billy Christopoulos, who had been with Toledo before it opted out of the season, that’s not going to happen. I’ve been told he’s likely signing with Indy, presumably so he can start getting paid sooner (Indy is playing; Fort Wayne not until February).
The Komets certainly need at least one top-notch goalie to join Stefanos Lekkas and Thomas Proudlock. You’ll certainly hear names like Michael Houser and Pat Nagle come up, but they’ll both probably be in the American Hockey League. Frankly, I think patience will pay off here. Even with the increased NHL roster sizes, which is why the Komets won’t get a goalie from the Vegas Golden Knights, I’ve got to believe there will be a some strong names that trickle down in the coming couple of weeks.
The player from Toledo I would keep an eye on is Brandon Hawkins, who had 16 goals and 33 points in 47 games with Wheeling last season and is friends with the Komets’ Shawn Szydlowski.
Another name to perhaps follow: defenseman Luke Sandler, who had been signed with Toledo after he had nine goals, 24 points and 107 penalty minutes with Kalamazoo last season.