The ECHL and its member teams mourn the loss and express their condolences to the family and friends of Fort Wayne Komets President Michael Franke, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 63.
Franke was President and co-owner of the Komets for the last 33 seasons, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the hockey team while also representing the Komets in the ECHL as Fort Wayne's Governor. During his stint as President, the Komets collected seven league championships, five regular-season titles and 10 trips to the finals. The Komets have been awarded League Member Club of the Year five times and have been a leader in attendance for the past 18 seasons attracting over 7,200 fans per game each year. While a member of the United Hockey League, Franke was personally honored as Governor of the Year twice (2001-02, 2002-03). He was also named Executive of the Year on two consecutive occasions (2007-08, 2008-09) while a member of the International Hockey League.
A 1982 graduate of Purdue University Fort Wayne, Franke is survived by his wife, Theresa; daughter, Katie; son, James; his three brothers, Bill, Steve, and David; and his sister Mary.