When Thatcher Demko (Team USA) faced Eric Comrie (Team Canada, Winnipeg) in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship it was history making. Two goalies who grew up in California were now facing each other in the World Junior Championships. This is a testament to how much hockey has progressed in the United States in the last two decades.
Demko grew up in San Diego and Comrie, a dual citizen, grew up in Edmonton, Alberta and Orange County, CA. They’ve been competing against each other since the age of 11, when they were both in the Czech Republic as part of the USA Selects team put together by Terry Christensen. Later on they were teammates playing on the Montreal Meltdown in one tournament after that Czech Republic trip.
Comrie did play for a U.S. team as well; just not a national team. A pretty interesting occurrence that can happen from time to time in the world of hockey.
“When Thatch played for SDIA (San Diego Ice Arena) and no one took him seriously, he was so determined and knew he had what it took to be a successful goalie,” said his mom, Danielle. “Believing when you can’t always see it; that’s the difference between good and great.”
To me this was one of the best stories of the recent WJC tournament and nobody really talked about it. Sure Canada won the game but the point was these two goalies had battled together and against each other many times beforehand. I’m sure they will again someday in the NHL when Comrie’s Winnipeg Jets play against Demko’s Vancouver Canucks.
“We’re very blessed for the opportunity and he’s worked very hard to get where he is. It would be fun to get to play against Eric. He’s extraordinarily talented and I hope he gets a chance to represent his country. We’ve known Eric and his dad for several years now. It’s always exciting to see California players do well,” said his dad, Brenton.
All eyes were on Demko in the Beanpot semifinal on Tuesday, February 3, as he tried to advance his team to the Championship game to once again get the hardware for Boston College. Unfortunately after a five-year reign as Beanpot Champions, the Eagles fell to the Northeastern Huskies and will play in the consolation game on February 9 against Harvard University. You never know what’s going to happen in this tournament and the talented netminder propelled the Eagles to the win last season in his first ever Beanpot. The impressive tender also played in the Frozen Four last year in Philadelphia as a Freshman.
Russ Cohen can be read at www.sportsology.net and on http://www.amazon.com/Russ-Cohen/e/B0034P5DNC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1421293635&sr=8-1 where he’s authored a few hockey books already, including his latest, “100 Things New York Rangers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die” published in November 2014.