FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The Fort Wayne Komets announced Wednesday that defenseman Olivier Galipeau has re-signed with the club.
Director of Communications Chuck Bailey retires, longtime Equipment Manager Joe Franke will not return for the 2020-2021 season and rookie forward Liam Murphy has signed a tryout agreement.
Galipeau skated 55 games with the Komets last season scoring eight goals and adding 26 assists to lead all Komets defensemen with 34 points. The 23-year-old capped his second pro season by being named the Komets Best Defenseman of the Year.
Galipeau made his pro debut during the 2018-2019 season logging 56 ECHL games with Atlanta.
“Anytime you can bring back your defenseman of the year it’s a good thing,” said Komets General Manager David Franke. "Olivier is a talented defenseman who can contribute offensively as his numbers show from last year, he’s also very valuable on special teams.”
After spending the past 27 years with the Fort Wayne Komets, Director of Communications Chuck Bailey has retired from his day-to-day duties with the organization.
During his tenure with the Komets, Bailey won Public Relations Director of the year, three times, twice in the United Hockey League and once in the ECHL.
Prior to joining the Komets, the Fort Wayne native was Program Director at WOWO radio.
“Chuck was a staple within our organization for a long time, bringing us much innovation from a technical standpoint in his early years with the Komets. We appreciate his loyalty to the organization”, said Komets President Michael Franke.
"When the season returns Bailey will be available to the Komets for special projects, and will oversee the press box on game nights working hand in hand with the ECHL off-ice officials. Taking over his day-to-day duties will be Komet broadcaster Shane Albahrani, who will now take on the title of Director of Media Relations as well as being the Komet play-by-play broadcaster.”
“I’m happy for Chuck in his retirement,” said Komets General Manager David Franke. His dedication to the Komets started when he was a young kid playing hockey in the Park Board league in Fort Wayne. Chuck is not only a loyal Komet but also a friend.”
Equipment Manager Joe Franke has accepted the position of Operations Manager of the Parkview Ice House and will not return for the upcoming season. “This job opportunity was something that I could not pass up to better myself and my family,” Franke said.
Starting with the Komets in 1978, Franke also served as an emergency backup goaltender for the Komets more than 30 times during his career.
On December 16, 2002 at the Coliseum, Franke entered a game relieving an injured Pokey Reddick. The Komets bested the Elmira Jackals 4-3 in a shootout with Franke getting the win and will forever be known as “1-0 Joe”.
He was part of six championships in Fort Wayne and won a Stanley Cup while a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins staff during the 1990-’91 season.
“Joe Franke has legendary status in the world of hockey,” said Komets General Manager David Franke. "Everyone knows Joe and the excellent job he has done over his career. In the early years Joe’s title was trainer/equipment manager. Players over the years loved and respected Joe for his knowledge and work ethic. I envision Joe being inducted into the Komet Hall of Fame at some point in the near future.”
Skylar Garver will take over as full-time equipment manager after serving one season as an assistant. Garver was the equipment manager for the Indiana Tech hockey team that went on to capture the NAIA national championship in 2018-2019.
Liam Murphy, 22, played five seasons in the QMJHL with Moncton, Chicoutimi and won the Memorial Cup alongside Olivier Galipeau with Acadie–Bathurst in 2018.
The 6’1 forward collected 121 points (64g, 57a) during his junior career. Last season with Concordia University (USports) Murphy scored six goals in 19 games.
The Komets will open their 2020-21 home campaign on Saturday, Oct. 17 when the Indy Fuel visit for a 7:35pm faceoff on Sweetwater Ice at the Memorial Coliseum.