FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Komets announced Monday that assistant coach Konstantin Shafranov is returning to Russia to pursue his coaching career.
Shafranov will attend the university in Omsk and will be enrolled in a special coaches training curriculum. Many coaches throughout Russia have attended the university and it is a stepping stone to a coaching career in Russia.
Shafranov first visited Fort Wayne after being invited by Komet general manager David Franke to the 1993-94 training camp. He later signed with Fort Wayne for the 1995-96 season. “He was a great Komet, loyal coach and mentor to many players,” Franke said. “I will miss him but wish all the success in this new phase of his coaching career. Now, the search is on for a new assistant coach to assist head coach Gary Graham.”
Shafranov served his first full season as an assistant to Graham last season. The former left winger was Graham’s assistant during 2013-14 after joining the coaching staff in mid-season.
Before his Fort Wayne debut as a player in 1995, the Kazakhstan native skated four seasons of Russian elite play where he was the leading scorer for Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk of the CIS (Commonwealth Of Independent States) league during 1992-93 and 1993-94. In 1995-96 Shafranov led all rookies in the International Hockey League with 46 goals and tied a Fort Wayne history record when he authored an eight-game goal-scoring streak. He was selected to the IHL Eastern Conference All-Star Team and named the IHL Rookie of the Year.
Shafranov was selected by St. Louis in the ninth round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. He debuted in the NHL appearing in five games with the Blues and made his AHL start logging 62 games with Worcester.
After registering career highs of 28 goals, 52 assists and 80 points in 1997-98 with the Komets, Shafranov skated seven consecutive seasons of pro hockey in Russia. In addition to regular season action, Shafranov also appeared in World Cup play and captured the Bronze Medal in the 2000-01 World Championship competition.
Shafranov returned to Fort Wayne in 2007 to capture two regular season titles and back-to-back IHL Turner Cup Championships. After completing the 2009-10 regular season with the Komets, Shafranov returned to his native Kazakhstan for the 2010 World Championships, missing the Komets successful playoff run and a third straight IHL Turner Cup Championship.
Shafranov has amassed Fort Wayne totals of 159 goals, 203 assists and 362 points in 350 regular season games. In 48 Komet playoff games covering six playoff seasons, Shafranov scored 15 goals, 29 assists and 44 points.