The World Junior Championships took an ugly turn when Ducks prospect Maxime Comtois was the subject of cyberbullying following his team’s elimination in the highly watched tournament in Vancouver, Canada.
Comtois, 19, the Ducks’ second-round draft pick in 2017 and captain of Canada, missed a penalty shot in overtime of a 2-1 quarterfinal loss to Finland. It was the first time that Canada didn’t medal when hosting the tournament.
“It’s not the first time that I’m going to miss an important one,” Comtois said in a television interview. “I’m just going to dig in and hopefully, if I get one more chance in my career, I’ll just try to bury it.”
Comtois went on to praise the Canadian fans in Rogers Arena.
“We can’t thank them enough for coming to our game and being behind us,” Comtois said. “We didn’t get the job done, and it’s part of the game and we have to move forward.”
But the comment section of Comtois’ Instagram photos was reportedly littered with disparaging comments that reinforced the tremendous pressure the teenage hockey players are under in the tournament.
Comtois’ representatives, the Roy Sports Group, issued a statement.
“Maxime Comtois is the ultimate example of a Hockey Canada athlete who has grown through the ranks to become a selfless leader,” it read. “No one is prouder to wear the Maple Leaf on his chest and C on his jersey. These young men understand and accept the pressure that comes with their roles in the hockey world. It is shameful and incomprehensible that a few cowards who can hide behind social media could make such vicious attacks on these young men’s character after they have battled their hearts out for their country.”
Comtois appeared in 10 games with the Ducks this season before he was returned to his junior team.
Finland, with Kings 2018 first-round pick Rasmus Kupari, will play Switzerland in the semifinals Friday. The U.S., which features Kings defenseman prospect Mikey Anderson, will play Russia in the other semifinal.