Lionel Repka helped revolutionize his position and led the Komets to two Turner Cups.
The Fort Wayne Komets have had many excellent offensive defensemen throughout the team's history, but the man who set the tone for blue-liners had a flair all his own.
Fort Wayne fans used to love watching Lionel "Choo Choo" Repka bring the puck up ice to set up a goal for his teammates. That offensive presence was not unique during the hockey games of the late 1950s and 1960s, but it was rare.
"He handled the puck well," former Komets coach Ken Ullyot said. "He was a good hockey player, and I was glad to have him. He played well everywhere, no matter what building we were playing in."
Repka came to Fort Wayne in 1958 after Ullyot spotted him in a training camp for Seattle of the Western Professional Hockey League. During his first season, Repka had only three goals and five points in 15 games, but his numbers steadily improved each season.
When the Komets won the Turner Cup in 1963, he had five goals and 54 points in 70 games, and followed that with 10 goals and 67 points in 70 games when the Komets won the Turner Cup again in 1965. During his best offensive season, Repka had 13 goals and 80 points in 70 games in 1965-66.
He was named to the All-IHL team in 1960, 1964 and 1965, winning the Governor's Trophy as the league's best defenseman in 1965.
He ranks fifth on the Komets' all-time games played list with 740 over 11 seasons. He's also fourth in assists with 437 and 11th in points with 535.
Repka retired at the end of the 1968-69 season to go into business. His No. 6 jersey was retired Jan. 26, 1991.
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