Fort Wayne, IN— The Komets announced Tuesday that veteran center Justin Hodgman has agreed to terms and will be reunited with the Fort Wayne club for 2017-18.
Hodgman, 29, will finally get a chance to skate a full regular season with Fort Wayne after winning three IHL Turner Cup championships with the Komets in 2008, 2009 and 2010. “Justin is a dynamic playmaker from the center position,” stated Komet head coach Gary Graham. “Justin knows the Komet culture inside and out and what our expectations are. To be able to play in front of his kids this year and work his way back up to AHL is something special and I’m glad I can help be a part of it.”
“Justin Hodgman is a name Komets fans should remember from his three stints in the playoffs in the new IHL,” Komet general manager David Franke said. “Justin’s two children were born in Fort Wayne and will finally see their dad in a Komets Jersey this season. We are excited to welcome back Hodgie to the Komet family. Justin will wear his familiar number 88 when he hits the ice for the Komets in October.”
In 2007-08, after completing his third OHL season with Erie and leading the Otters for the second straight season with 80 points in 64 games, Hodgman first joined the Komets for the final 11 games of the regular season and made his pro debut helping the Komets win the IHL regular season title before leading Fort Wayne to the 2008 IHL Turner Cup championship with team playoff highs of seven goals, seven assists and 14 points in all 13 games. The highlight of the post-season was Hodgman scoring the Turner Cup championship game winner in the third overtime of the seventh game against Port Huron and earning the IHL 2008 Playoffs MVP Award.
In 2008-09, the Brampton, Ontario native returned to Erie to complete his fourth and final OHL season. He led the Otters for the third straight season with 66 points in 66 games before returning to Fort Wayne for the final six games of the regular season and another IHL regular season title. Hodgman appeared in all 11 playoff games and collected his second Turner Cup championship.
Hodgman followed the 2008-09 season with a signed NHL contract with Chicago and was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hodgman made his AHL debut with the Marlies skating 42 games while also appearing in 33 ECHL games with Toledo during 2009-10 before re-joining the Komets to once again help Fort Wayne to a third straight IHL Turner Cup crown ranking second with 12 assists and 16 points in 10 playoff appearances.
The center made his European debut in 2011-12 with the Pelicans in Finland in the SM-Liiga elite league, leading the Pelicans with 39 assists and ranking second with 53 points in 59 games. Hodgman was on board to help guide the Pelicans to the playoff finals.
In 2012 Hodgman move to the Russian KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) where he spent two seasons with Magnitogorsk Metallurg, Nizhny Novgorod and Vladivostok. In 2014 the skater signed an NHL two-way contract with Arizona and after starting the year with the AHL’s Portland Pirates, made the best of his first NHL game by scoring the game-tying goal in a 2-1 overtime win for the Coyotes.
Hodgman split 2015-16 between the AHL’s Chicago Wolves and Orebro in the Swedish elite league.
Last season Hodgman started the year with Pardubice of the Czech Republic League and completed the campaign with a return to SM-Liiga in Finland and another stint with the Pelicans.
Hodgman’s career has yielded AHL totals of 30 goals, 52 assists and 82 points in 157 games and Fort Wayne totals, including playoffs, of 25 goals, 33 assists and 58 points in 54 games.
The addition of Hodgman pushes the preseason roster to 12 players. Hodgman joins forwards Taylor Crunk, Mason Baptista, Gabriel Desjardins, Jamie Schaafsma, Dennis Kravchenko and Garrett Thompson. Defensemen on the roster include Jason Binkley, Curtis Leonard, Ryan Lowney and Cody Sol along with goaltender Garrett Bartus.
Opening night for the 66th season of Komet Hockey is slated for Saturday, Oct. 14 in Fort Wayne against the Toledo Walleye. Single game tickets for 2017-18 go on sale soon. Season Tickets are on sale now at the Komet office at 1010 Memorial Way in Fort Wayne. For more information visit Komets.com or call 260-483-0011.