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Make sure to thank George Drysdale on his 90th birthday

Courtesy of Fort Wayne Komets<br /> <br /> George Drysdale, right, scored the first-ever goal in Komets history on Oct. 28, 1952 against Grand Rapids.
Courtesy of Fort Wayne Komets

George Drysdale, right, scored the first-ever goal in Komets history on Oct. 28, 1952 against Grand Rapids.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

He's still providing Komets an example 65 years later

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 10:00 am
Because he played just three seasons, he'll likely never have his banner lifted to the Memorial Coliseum rafters, but George Drysdale's impact on the Fort Wayne Komets is immeasurable. Drysdale turns 90 on Friday and deserves as many handshakes and slaps on the back as his body can handle. You'll be rewarded with the biggest, most-gracious smile around, and if you're lucky and have enough time, you'll hear a fantastic story from his memory. Unlike a lot of people, Drysdale's story will likely be about someone else, too.

Though he was an original Komet from October 1952, and hasn't played in a Komets' game since 1955, it's amazing the impact Drysdale has had on the franchise. He's the ultimate gentleman who along with Eddie Long helped develop the template for the Komets which still exists today.

Whenever Drysdale is introduced, someone always seems to mention that he was the first captain when the franchise started. That's partly true and partly incorrect. After the Komets completed their first training camp in Woodstock, Ontario, coach Alex Wood named goaltender Jack Timmons the original captain. After an unsuccessful negotiation with the Chatham Maroons, Drysdale didn't join the Komets until they were on their bus ride home from that training camp.

Halfway through the season, the players selected Drysdale as their captain, partly because there's little doubt he was already acting in the role. That's just how George has approached life, with class, respect for others and a Christian view.

The funny thing is, though, whenever someone introduces him that way, Drysdale never corrects the misconception. It's not that his ego needs the affirmation, and from a lesser man you might think it's a matter of false pride, but Drysdale has never been a lesser man. Keeping his mouth shut is a sign of his class because he would never embarrass someone publicly for such a mistake.

As much as Long is rightly recognized for helping set the tone for what the Komets would stand for on the ice, Drysdale set the standard for how the players would represent the franchise in the community. He has never turned down someone asking for a favor — and at the same time never asked for one back. He has never lorded his status as an original Komet over any future players, and he's too much of a gentleman to openly criticize anyone on the ice. While providing color commentary on the Public Access Game of the Week, he may make a point or two based on his own playing experiences, but it's always done in an instructive, constructive way.

While being the player who scored the first goal in Komets' history, Drysdale is also almost always at every home game to see the latest one. Other than former broadcaster Bob Chase, it's possible that no one has watched more Komets' games than George has. He still serves the team when asked as an off-ice official and providing commentary on broadcasts.

Looking at all of his contributions, it's amazing that he only played 163 games as a Komet before a blood disease forced his retirement. He's simply always been there helping out however he can. He's simply a wonderful resource.

Thank goodness that in his own way George has always been here, is still here, to help guide with such class the team he helped start. As long as the Komets always try to live up to his example, they'll always be a success.

Happy birthday, George! We love you.

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Blake Sebring at bsebring@news-sentinel.com.

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