From a practical point of view, this affiliation is not earth-shattering to the Blue Jackets. The Komets are on record as suggesting that they will receive one forward and one defenseman from Springfield before the home opener in Fort Wayne on Saturday, October 16 (Tickets still available!). Word is that Springfield currently has 11 defensemen in camp - so a Fort Wayne allows the CBJ to keep their longer-term prospects from getting buried on the Falcons' bench.
At the same time, I love the message that this affiliation sends. I have plenty of personal background with the Komets and know the owners, the Frankes. (See that Turner Cup in the photo? I've got my picture with it. So, yeah, I'm just a tad excited by this move.) Suffice to say that the Franke brothers are pro sports entrepreneurs par excellence, and they have constantly made the moves necessary to keep their franchise not just viable but strong over the boom and bust periods of the 20 years that they have owned the franchise. The Frankes are very hands-on owners and only do what is best for their team, even going as far as to build their own minor league when the need arose. They would not have jumped in with the Blue Jackets (not having any affiliation since 1998-99, when they were tied to the Florida Panthers) without significant due diligence - which signals to me that they think highly of the CBJ. No small endorsement.
|The 1952-53 Fort Wayne Komets|
The history of the franchise goes even deeper: Radio voice Bob Chase - the man who NHL on NBC play-by-play announcer "Doc" Emrick credits as teaching him how to call games - has been doing Komets announcing on WOWO for 56 years. That's right, fifty plus six.
|The 1968-69 Komets logo, the Spaceman.|
(Hey, it was the 60's! Man on the moon!)
- Significant information for this post was unearthed from the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette's Justin Cohn, whose Ice Chips blog is must-read material for Komets fans and soon-to-be-fans.
- Twitter's FrickinDannie offers a reasoned review of the move in a guest column at The Cannon. I don't know enough about the new CHL to firmly rebut her claim that the CHL is somehow an inferior league, but it's worth knowing that Columbus is now the fourth NHL team to set up a CHL affiliation. Dallas is affiliated with the Allen (TX) Americans, Colorado with the Tulsa (OK) Oilers and the New York Islands with the Odessa (TX) Jackalopes. So it's not like the CBJ is going out on a limb with their new farm team.