No one was more surprised than Daniel Maggio himself when Komets coach Al Sims told the defenseman he had been selected to compete in the Jan. 23 ECHL All-Star Game.
``My eyes were wide open when he told me,'' the defenseman said. ``It really hasn't sunk in yet, but I think it will when I'm in Colorado at the end of the month. It's a great accomplishment, and I'm pretty humbled.''
Maggio, 21, was named to the team which will compete against the Colorado Eagles in Loveland, Colo. He'll also participate in the ECHL skills competition on Jan. 22.
While playing in all 32 of 33 games for the Komets this season, Maggio has four goals and 14 points to lead all Fort Wayne defensemen. He's tied for third in the ECHL with 119 penalty minutes, but maybe Maggio's most-impressive statistic is his plus-6 rating. That's because he's been playing against the opponents' top lines every night.
Unlike some leagues, the ECHL prefers to showcase younger prospects in its all-star game for scouts who may be in attendance. After helping the Komets to the Central Hockey League championship last year, Maggio went to training camp with the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves, but didn't get much of a chance because of the NHL lockout.
``There are a lot of good payers in the ECHL right now, and all I can do is just keep trying to work hard,'' he said.
He's been trying to concentrate on improving his offense of late, staying after practice to shoot more and complete drills to work on his puck-handling.
``I talked to coach Sims last week, and he said take care of your own end and when you find an opportunity jump into the play,'' Maggio said. ``Always think defense first, and then the offense will come.''
Right now, he's using the adrenalin boost from being named to the all-star game to help get through a stretch of nine games in 14 days. The Komets are only two games into that streak heading into tonight's game against Cincinnati.
``This is pretty exciting for me,'' Maggio said.