It’s hard to argue with Komets general manager David Franke when he says team captain Kaleigh Schrock, at the hardly ripe age of 29, is still a good stretch of the legs away from his rocking chair days.
He’s not an old guy by any stretch of the imagination, Franke says.
But it’s apparently never too soon to start thinking about legacies.
The team announced Monday that Schrock, a right wing, and Mike Embach, a 26-year-old left wing, have agreed to terms for 2014-15. And for Schrock, at least, that means at least one thing: Yet another crack at a Kelly Cup title, which would give the Komets titles in four different leagues in the 2000s and Schrock, who joined the team in 2009, four titles in three leagues.
From a personal standpoint, I’ve accomplished everything I’ve wanted to, Schrock said. To be the captain of the team I grew up wanting to play for is a dream come true for me.
But from a team standpoint, I feel like there’s going to be a lot left on the table if I don’t win a championship in this league. And with this organization, you know it’s going to happen sometime. So I want to be remembered as one of the first guys to win an ECHL championship in a Komet uniform.
Franke wouldn’t mind that either. But mostly, he wants Schrock to be remembered this season as the ultimate rat – and he means that in a good way.
We’re not looking for a ton of scoring from him, Franke said Monday. We want him to play that instigator kind of role, to get the other team off their stride a little bit.
We want him to go out there and pressure guys, rumble when he has to, knock guys into the boards. We want him out there stirring the pot.
Embach, meanwhile, they merely want to see do what he did from the moment he came over in a trade in December after starting the season in Cincinnati and Gwinnett.
A fourth-year pro, Embach had career highs of 28 goals, 25 assists and 53 points in 68 games, and had a team-high five assists in the playoffs, when he helped anchor the Komets’ most potent line along with Shawn Szydlowski and Aaron Clarke.
One of the best trades we made all year, Franke says.
What I really like about (Embach) is he works his (tail) off, he says. He’s very physical and that’s the brand of hockey Fort Wayne needs to get back to. Embach’s a guy who’s going to be flashy at times and make nice plays and wow people, and he’s also going to finish his checks. And that’s important.
Notes: The Komets announced Monday they would play three home exhibition games this fall. Evansville visits for the first two at 8 p.m. Oct. 10 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11. Kalamazoo comes to town at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13. All three games will be at Memorial Coliseum.