Comtois’ reps address ‘cyberbullying’ after tough world juniors

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Social media can be a fantastic way for fans and players to make connections, but those interactions sometimes get really ugly when things go dark.

One can bet that Anaheim Ducks prospect Maxime Comtois was already gutted after the Canadian team he captained fell 2-1 in OT to Finland, keeping the perennial powerhouse from earning a medal at the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship. Reactions in some corners went beyond criticizing mistakes and unlucky breaks, however.

Comtois drew heat for some especially tough moments, including a failed penalty shot attempt in overtime, and he was on the ice for Finland’s OT-winner. It’s safe to bet that passions boiled over, in part, because of Canada seeing its 1-0 lead erased in the final minute of the third period to a goal that clearly left Michael DiPietro in shock.

Check out those dramatic moments in this TSN clip:

Again, Comtois’ struggles brought out the worst in people, with some especially nasty comments on his Instagram account. You can see some of the milder versions below, while Sportsnet’s Faizal Khamisa captured some of the ugliest comments.

Quebec politician Pascal Berube to labeled those social media comments as “”anti-francophone racism,” as the Canadian Press notes.

It’s apparently reached the point where Comtois’ representatives felt the need to release a statement on the matter. As you can see below, “it was Maxime’s idea to use this as a learning moment for all of the youth of Canada, that cyberbullying is a real problem, and like all bullies, we need to stand up to them and call them out for what they are.”

Earlier in the tournament, critics also believed that Comtois was guilty of diving, so it’s been a tough week-or-so for the Ducks prospect.

It’s already been a memorable season for the 50th pick of the 2017 NHL Draft, as he spent 10 games with the Ducks (scoring seven points as they dealt with a rash of injuries), four games with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls, and five with the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.