Fort Wayne, IN --- The Komets announced Monday that Al Sims has retired as Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel.
Last season Sims completed his 10th campaign behind the Fort Wayne bench. It was also his 38th pro hockey career year since his rookie season in 1973-74 as a defenseman with the Boston Bruins in the NHL.
Sims began his head coaching career in his first stint with the Komets in 1989-90. He captured the 1993 IHL Turner Cup Championship during his fourth season coaching the Komets before moving on to the NHL as part of the coaching staff of the then Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 1993-94.
Sims continued his career serving as head coach of the 1996-97 San Jose Sharks before serving additional coaching stints with Milwaukee (IHL), Reading (ECHL), Corpus Christi (CHL), Fort Worth (CHL) and Wilkes-Barre (AHL). He also accepted the role of general manager of the Flint Generals in the UHL for 2006-07 before returning to Fort Wayne in 2007.
Sims has coached the Komets the last six consecutive seasons, claiming two regular season titles and adding four championships for a total of five league championships as Fort Wayne’s head coach.
“I am announcing my retirement today from the Fort Wayne Komets hockey club. After talking with my family the last month we are all in agreement this is the best course for me,” Sims said. “I have to thank the Franke family for the opportunity they afforded me. The last 6 years have been the best of my coaching career. I want to thank all the players who played for me, and all the fans that supported us. It was a very special time in Komets history and I think it will become even more special as time goes on. I wish the Komets and their fans the very best in the future.”
“We cannot thank Al enough for his accomplishments during his two different tenures as Komet coach,” Komet president Michael Franke said. “It doesn’t get any better than this. His tremendous success will be honored by the organization in the near future in a proper way. It’s been a great run and we wish Al and his family all the best.”
Sims made coaching history with the Komets when he became the winningest coach in the hockey club’s history with his 272nd Komet victory March 17, 2009 with a 2-1 overtime win at Port Huron. He completed his Komet coaching career with record totals of 437 wins in 761 games plus 72 playoff wins in 105 post-season games.
“Al Sims’ accomplishments in Fort Wayne are quite remarkable,” Komet general manager David Franke said. “Who would have thought in 1990 when our family purchased the Komets that 24 years later Coach Al Sims would have won five league championships. Al Sims and Komet legend Ken Ullyot have been the best coaches in Komet history. What a legacy coach Al Sims leaves behind. Thank you, Al.”
Al Sims Fort Wayne career through the years—
•1988-89—Made his Fort Wayne debut as a defenseman and player-assistant coach.
•1992-93, 2007-08—Named the IHL Coach of the Year each year.
•1990-91—Took the Komets to the IHL Turner Cup Finals in his second year as head coach; Fort Wayne’s first year under Franke ownership.
•1991-92—Led the Komets to the IHL Eastern Conference Championship.
•1992-93—Guided the Komets to the Central Division title and Fort Wayne’s 4th IHL Turner Cup Championship.
•2007-08—Returned to Fort Wayne as head coach of the Komets and won the IHL regular season title and Turner Cup Championship.
•2008-09—Coached the Komets to the IHL regular season championship and Turner Cup Championship for the second consecutive season. Became the winningest coach in Fort Wayne’s history with his 272nd Komet win March 27, 2009 at Port Huron (2-1 OT win).
•2009-10—Guided the Komets to their seventh Turner Cup Championship and his fourth. Set a new Fort Wayne record for career Komet games coached with his 495th game Nov. 26, 2009 vs Flint, eclipsing the old record of 494 set by Ken Ullyot in 1970.
•2011-12—Captured his fifth Fort Wayne division title winning the Turner Conference Trophy before collecting his fifth Fort Wayne league championship winning the CHL Presidents’ Cup.
•2012-13—Was his 38th pro year and 10th as Komet head coach and his 11th year with Fort Wayne overall. Completed the year with Fort Wayne head coaching records of 437 wins and 761 regular season games coached.