Tri-City Americans: Goalie Comrie returns, defenseman Yuen sent to AHL

September 17, 2013 

Tri-City Americans goalie Eric Comrie, seen here at the 2012 Subway Super Series, said he is ready for the upcoming season after having two hip surgeries in February.

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE

Eric Comrie was up at 5 a.m. on Tuesday. He hopped a flight out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and landed in the Tri-Cities at noon to rejoin his Tri-City Americans teammates after spending nearly two weeks with the Winnipeg Jets, who selected him in the second round of the NHL draft in June.

“It was excellent,” Comrie said of his time with the Jets. “It was so much fun. Excellent people and an excellent organization. But I’m excited to be back for the home opener (Saturday vs. Spokane). I cut it kind of close, didn’t I?”

Also on Tuesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs reassigned Tri-City overage defenseman Zach Yuen to the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. It is not known whether Yuen will return to the Americans.

Former Tri-City forward Carter Ashton, who played for the Marlies last season, still is in the Maple Leafs’ main camp.

Comrie was on the ice at 2:45 p.m., taking shots from the top line of Connor Rankin, Brian Williams and Lucas Nickles.

“No better way than to get off the plane and get the feet going,” said Comrie, who also was breaking in new skates.

A few pucks got past Comrie during his session with goalie coach Lyle Mast and rookie goalie Evan Sarthou. Though he has been facing NHL-caliber shots the last couple of weeks, Comrie said once the game starts, there won’t be any difference.

“It’s all the same,” he said. “The guys still shoot and there’s a lot of traffic in front of the net. You just have to see it (the puck) for as long as you can.”

In the midst of his busy day, he wasn’t aware that fellow Tri-City goalie Troy Trombley had been traded to the Saskatoon Blades until he landed in Pasco.

“It’s always sad to see anyone leave,” Comrie said. “He will do well up there. He deserves that.”

Tri-City general manager Bob Tory received a fifth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft for the 6-foot-7, 215-pound Trombley, who joined the team last January when Comrie was shelved with a hip injury.

“Troy came in last season and filled in admirably after Eric went down, and we thank him for that,” Tory said in a news release. “He has earned this opportunity to go and compete for the starting spot in Saskatoon, and we wish him all the best going forward.”

Tory also reassigned defenseman Brodie Clowes to the Whitecourt Wolverines of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. A shoulder injury limited Clowes to two games last season.

With the moves, the Americans still have 27 players on their roster (most teams carry 24). Of those, 17 are forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies. Yuen is included on that list.

The Americans open their season Saturday, hosting the Spokane Chiefs. It will be the first time Comrie, 18, and his younger brother Ty, a 16-year-old forward, will play a game together on the same team since they were 6 and 4 years old.

“It’s exciting to see him come here and excel,” Eric Comrie said. “He always scores on me. I’m excited to see him do well.”

Note: The Americans and KNDU/SWX will bring back the Americans Coaches Show this season. The half-hour show will air once a month, starting today. The show can be seen on KNDU’s over-the-air digital channels 25.3/23.3 and Charter Channel 287.

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