For Eric Comrie, Wednesday’s selection to the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game was an honor not only for himself, but for the Tri-City Americans.
“This is really exciting,” Comrie said. “I’m excited to represent my team and showcase myself for the scouts against other top players. I have to thank my teammates for helping me out.”
Comrie, the Americans’ starting goaltender, is the fifth Tri-City player to be selected for the game, following in the footsteps of forward Scott Gomez (1998), defenseman Shawn Belle (2003), and goalies Carey Price (2005) and Chet Pickard (2008).
Also, former Americans coach Don Nachbaur was an assistant for Team White in 2008, coaching alongside Grant Fuhr and Glenn Anderson.
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“This is quite an honor and well deserved,” Tri-City general manager Bob Tory said of Comrie. “I’m sure he will represent our organization well. We’ve been fortunate to have good kids in a very important position. We have a pretty good history with our goalies.”
Comrie will play for Team Orr at the event, scheduled for Jan. 16 at the Halifax (Nova Scotia) Metro Center. He will share time in net with Spencer Martin of the Mississauga Steelheads.
Team Orr will be coached by Mike McPhee, a Stanley Cup winner with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986. Comrie will be joined by fellow WHL players Madison Bowey (Kelowna), Seth Jones, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nic Petan (Portland), Shea Theodore (Seattle), Curtis Lazar (Edmonton) and Hunter Shinkaruk (Medicine Hat).
“It will be a lot of fun to have them on my team,” Comrie said. “They are all excellent players. The other team (Team Cherry) has a lot of talent, too. It will be great competition. I’m looking forward to it.”
Comrie, 17, is 15-12-1-2 this season with a 2.70 goals against average, a .911 save percentage and two shutouts. He has lost his last six starts but is confident the Americans will turn things around.
“Of course you are frustrated when the wins don’t go your way,” Comrie said. “At the end of the day, the most important part is winning. We are getting better each time we step out on the ice. We have great leaders, and I believe we are going to peak at the right time of the year.”
The Top Prospects squad is the second all-star team to which Comrie has been selected this season. He played against Team Russia in the Subway Super Series on Nov. 15 in Victoria, British Columbia. Comrie played half of the game, stopping 17 of 18 shots.
“It’s very rare that you see a 17-year-old starter,” Tory said. “People don’t understand the physical and mental pressure you go through on a team that is rebuilding. His consistency has been amazing with as many games as he had played. We are not a team that scores a lot of goals, but he’s done a tremendous job, and that will serve him well as he moves on to pro hockey.
“Fans should appreciate what they get to see every night. Someday, we likely will be talking about him like we do Carey.”