Hockey fans follow, read about and watch video features of some of the most heralded players in the game — McDavid, Ovechkin, Crosby, McKinnon, etc. But for every superstar, there’s about 30 grinders, and the next 428 words is about one of them.
Goaltender Eric Comrie doesn’t need a paycheque from a hockey organization to pay the bills or put food on the table.
He comes from a wealthy Edmonton family whose patriarch is Bill Comrie, founder of The Brick furniture empire. It’s quite apparent that if and when 27-year-old Eric finally hangs up his pads, he’ll find some sort of well-paying job in the world of king-sized beds, sofas, kitchen suites and ottomans.
But it’s obvious young Comrie is addicted to playing professional hockey. Many of his ilk would have given up by now, realizing the road to success was riddled with potholes.
He has had a taste of the NHL in seven seasons, but for most of his time, he bounced around the American Hockey League and the waiver wire, not to mention being a hot name in the trade market.
Since No. 1 goaltenders are a rare breed, opportunities galore exist for Comrie and others who are of No. 2 or even No. 3 calibre.
This year, it appears, Comrie may finally have found a permanent home. After five games over three seasons (2017-19) with Winnipeg Jets, three games with Detroit in 2019-20, one with New Jersey Devils in 2020-21 and another 19 last season with the Jets, Comrie has in the early going seemed to have found a home as No. 1 goalie with the Buffalo Sabres, one of the feel-good stories of the young NHL season.
Perennially bottom dwellers over the last decade or so, the Sabres won seven of their first 10 games, including back-to-back Comrie-led road victories in Edmonton and Calgary. How sweet that win in Edmonton must have been, with dozens of family and friends in Rogers Place cheering him on.
Given his nomadic career and continued dedication to establishing himself as a regular NHLer, it’s no surprise that Comrie has a Bill Masterton award nomination to his credit.
The Masterton is presented annually to “the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.”
He didn’t win, but his peers around the NHL have obviously recognized his dedication to his craft, and his determination to make it. Trades, waiver pickups, demotions to the minors …. Comrie has looked at his variety of constant career changes with optimism. “It’s always nice to be liked and when you’re picked up off waivers, someone is liking you,” Comrie told fullpresshockey.com.
His early success this season in Buffalo may be a harbinger of great things to come. Based on early results, the Sabres and their fans are definitely liking him, too.
• Headline at theonion.com: “Offensive Coordinator Draws Up Perfect Play For Crushing Defenceless Photographer On Sideline”
• A tweet From Edmonton Police: “Your vehicle is not as skilled on ice as Connor McDavid. Your tires are not skates. You cannot speed down a wintry road and expect your vehicle to make a hockey stop. Please drive according to the road conditions and your comfort.”
• Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “I just re-watched the wall-hugging, pedal-to-the-metal move Ross Chastain made to get the final spot in NASCAR’s championship race. I haven’t seen a such a daring manoeuvre in a car since high school when I put the move on Becky in the back seat of Mom’s Pontiac Catalina.”
• Headline at the Beaverton: “Poll: Majority of Canadians favour making sports betting illegal again just to get rid of the %&$##$ ads”
• RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com: “Halloween guidelines in many elementary schools call for outfits that don’t scare anybody. So my niece dressed her son as a Detroit Lion.”
• Headline at the onion.com: “Luka Doncic Spends Offseason Adding New Complaints to Repertoire”
• Headline at fark.com: “Canadian Olympic bobsleigh medallist suspended for three years when they found out she has more than maple syrup running through her veins”
• Another one from the TheBeaverton.com: “Study: Every child who cheated at NHL 94 now a hardened criminal.”
• Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Taylor Swift made history as the first musical artist to claim all top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 list, for the week of Nov. 5. Kind of like Nick Saban on national signing day.”
• Another one from Perry: “Former NBA player Iman Shumpert was arrested for cannabis possession when he tried to pass through airport security for his flight to Los Angeles. Apparently he’s no longer immune to travelling violations.” • Astros ace Justin Verlander, via Twitter, on flipping off taunting Phillies fans upon arrival in Philadelphia: “Just saying hello in their native tongue … all in good fun.” Care to comment? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
by Bruce Penton