Gabriel Verpaelst should be familiar to fans of the Komets – he was part of the one of the most talked about fracases in the Komets’ 68-year history – and now he’ll be playing for Fort Wayne.
The Komets acquired Verpaelst, a defenseman, from the Norfolk Admirals today. While it completed the offseason deal in which the Komets sent the Admirals forward J.C. Campagna, Fort Wayne will now owe Norfolk future considerations.
Verpaelst was part of the Colorado Eagles’ 2017-18 championship team; he netted the Kelly Cup-winning goal against the Florida Everblades. But in the Eagles’ seven-game Western Conference finals victory over the Komets, he was part of a melee that took place during warm-ups preceding Game 2 in Loveland, Colorado. He fought Dennis Kravchenko and both were suspended five games by the ECHL.
Last season, while playing for the Wichita Thunder, he collided with Fort Wayne’s Jason Binkley, who suffered a broken arm that ended his season Feb. 20, 2019.
Verpaelst, 26, had played 33 games this season with the Adirondack Thunder, totaling three goals, nine points and 64 penalty minutes. He was traded by the Thunder in a four-team deal Monday with Norfolk, for which he had skated 2015 to 2017.
He will be reunited with two players from Colorado’s 2018 championship – Brady Shaw and Shawn St-Amant – as Fort Wayne (18-14-5) heads into Friday’s 7:30 p.m. against the division-leading Cincinnati Cyclones (23-9-6).
The Komets have lost two of their last three games and are 3-7-3 in their last 13 games, though they remain only three points back of the second-place Toledo Walleye (20-12-4), which plays at Memorial Coliseum 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
“We’ve got to dig deep, start looking at ourselves and start trying to find ways to win more than we have been,” Fort Wayne’s Shawn Szydlowski said.
Verpaelst was an alternate captain in Adirondack.