Michael Franke, the revered President and Co-owner of Fort Wayne Komets, sadly succumbed to his long-standing fight against cancer on December 10 at Stillwater Hospice in Fort Wayne. He was 63 years old.
In 1990, Franke, alongside his brothers and co-owners, Steve, David, Richard, and Bill, took charge of the Komets franchise. His enduring dedication to the team was recognized with a Mad Anthony Red Coat in 2017, a distinction also bestowed upon his brothers and co-owner Scott Sproat of the San Francisco Giants.
A stalwart figure in hockey, Franke played pivotal roles in various leagues, notably the United Hockey League, International Hockey League’s rejuvenation, and the merging of the Central Hockey League with the ECHL, where the Komets currently thrive. Under the Franke brothers’ stewardship, the Komets claimed seven titles across five different leagues.
Komet General Manager David Franke expressed deep sorrow, highlighting Michael’s integral role in the family and the team. Reflecting on Michael’s lifelong connection with Komet hockey, David emphasized his brother’s profound love for family, team, and the Fort Wayne community.
Remembered as a devoted husband, father, uncle, and brother, Michael Franke’s passing reunites him with departed loved ones while leaving behind his wife Teresa, daughter Katie, son James, and their families.
We are saddened to announce that Komet president and co-owner Michael Franke has passed after a lengthy battle with cancer at the age of 63.https://t.co/WbYtdlh915
— Fort Wayne Komets (@FWKomets) December 11, 2023
Franke’s legacy as a pillar of the Fort Wayne Komets remains indelible. His unwavering commitment and leadership guided the team’s success and earned admiration across the hockey fraternity. Tributes pouring in from the hockey community echo the profound impact Franke had on the sport and the lives he touched throughout his distinguished career.
My thoughts & prayers are with the Franke family & the Komets organization. Michael Franke & what he developed with the Komets has made such a special impact on our city. He will be greatly missed. https://t.co/1Pc8pdbsbr
— Jon Coffman (@coachcoffman) December 12, 2023
Despite his prolonged battle, Franke’s dedication to the Komets persisted until the end, serving as an enduring inspiration for many. His resilience and unwavering determination will be forever cherished and remembered.