PQ leader calls harassment against Team Canada captain 'anti-francophone' racism
Published Thursday, January 3, 2019 11:00AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 3, 2019 5:59PM EST
The interim leader of the Parti Quebecois is calling insults against the captain of the world junior hockey team “anti-francophone racism.”
Team Canada Captain Maxime Comtois was flogged with insults on social media after missing a penalty shot in a World Juniors game against Finland.
The team was eliminated following the dramatic 2-1 overtime loss Wednesday night, and overzealous fans took to Instagram and Twitter to call out the 19-year-old player.
The loss for Canada means the country will not play for a world junior medal for only the second time in 21 years.
Some users on Instagram referred to Comtois as an "absolute joke," who "did not deserve Captain." Several comments pointed out that the Comtois, a native of Longueuil, is French.
More extreme users dispensed threats, calling the teen "a French f***" and saying they "hope he gets HIV."
Several other internet users - including interim PQ leader Pascal Berube - stepped forward to denounce the personal attacks on Comtois.
Since the onslaught of cruel posts, Comtois has disabled comments on his Instagram account.
"It is shameful and incomprehensible that a few cowards who can hide behind social media could make such vicious attacks on these young men's character after they have battled their hearts out for their country," Comtois' representatives, The Roy Sports Group, said in a statement Thursday.
"It was Maxime's idea to use this as a learning moment for all of the youth of Canada, that cyber bullying is a real problem, and like all bullies, we need to stand up to them and call them, out for what they are," it reads.
Head coach Tim Hunter picked Comtois to take the penalty shot. Finnish goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stretched his right pad to block the low shot.
"I was thinking to score and I didn't," Comtois said. "I was going with my move and trying to shoot. It's not the first one that I missed and it's not going to be the last one. It has to hurt, but if I get one more chance later in my career, I have to be ready and dig in to get it in."
"We had a couple guys practicing this type of situation in practice. I was one of them. It could have been anyone on the team. I was confident with my move and it didn't work."
The teen also plays for the Voltigeurs in Drummondville, and was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in 2017.
Screenshots taken on Wednesday night capture the ire of Team Canada fans hoping for a win in Wednesday's game. (CTV Montreal)
Édifiant. Du racisme anti-francophones. https://t.co/cNcVO7l4Cx— Pascal Bérubé (@PascalBerube) January 3, 2019
This will be the only official statement regarding Max Comtois. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/EgNWrODqMC— Roy Sports Group (@RSGHockey) January 3, 2019
With files from The Canadian Press.