Maybe nothing proves how much things have changed for the Komets this offseason than Tuesday's announcement that Colin Chaulk will be an assistant coach with the Kalamazoo Wings.
The face of the franchise in Fort Wayne for most of the past 10 years will help coach Nick Bootland try to beat the Wings' top rival.
With Gary Graham deciding to go without an assistant coach this season, that meant Chaulk needed a new job and he found one two hours north.
"Nick actually called me last summer and asked if I'd be interested,'' Chaulk said. "I'm really excited about this challenge, and I think we can push each other.''
Chaulk recently finished his 10th season in Fort Wayne and 15th season as a pro with 22 points in 28 games.
He missed 44 games last year with injuries. He finished in Fort Wayne with 578 games, 184 goals and 684 points. He's third behind Len Thornson and Eddie Long on the Komets' franchise list for career points and is seventh in games played. Chaulk also became the 70th player to score 1,000 points in his minor league career.
“After he (Colin) announced his retirement, we (K-Wings) pursued him for this role because of all the intangibles he brings,” Bootland said in a Wings press release. "Colin has always been a student of the game, which is evident with the accolades he has earned as a top defensive-forward many times throughout his career.”
Chaulk was the key leader on five Fort Wayne title teams, in 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012.
"It's a great opportunity for him,'' Komets General Manager David Franke said.
"He may find a quicker path to a head coaching job with Kalamazoo than he could have with Fort Wayne.
"It doesn't look like he's going to have to uproot his family this year, which is huge to him. It'll add a little more spice to the rivalry for sure.
"We're happy as hell for Colin. He's going to get an opportunity to fly on his own and so are we. We won't have each other to rely on. This will take this rivalry to another level which is a good thing.''