2021 mwc beaudin comtois

Reunited in Riga

Long-time friends and teammates in minor and junior hockey, Nicolas Beaudin and Maxime Comtois are sharing a dressing room again at the IIHF World Championship

David Brien
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May 28, 2021
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It was sometime in the late 2000s or early 2010s that Nicolas Beaudin and Maxime Comtois first shook hands before a summer hockey game. A decade later they are together again, this time wearing the Maple Leaf at the 2021 IIHF World Championship.

“We've known each other for a good 10 years, so it's really nice to be able to experience this together,” says Beaudin, 21.

“It's pretty much the same between Nic and I now as when we played growing up,” adds Comtois, 22. “We have great chemistry off the ice, we joke around and we always stick together.”

Although the two are still considered youngsters in the world of professional hockey, they have had some memorable adventures playing the game that have strengthened their friendship over the years.

In addition to having worn the same colours for a few seasons of summer hockey, the two played together in U15 AAA and U18 AAA with the Grenadiers de Châteauguay program, earning a silver medal at the 2015 TELUS Cup, Canada’s National U18 Club Championship.

Since then, their careers have taken different paths.

Comtois is well known among Canadian hockey fans, having previously represented his country six times through the Program of Excellence, including captaining Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver. A second-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2017, the 22-year-old led the Ducks in goals and points this season, his first full NHL campaign.

Beaudin's journey to the highest levels of hockey has been a little more under the radar. A first-round selection by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2018, the defenceman apprenticed for a season with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs before making the jump to Chicago this season, steady progress that earned him his first international assignment in Latvia.

Fortunately, Beaudin has his long-time friend by his side to help him navigate the ups and downs of playing for Canada.

“It was definitely reassuring to know that Max would be there,” Beaudin admits. “Whatever the reason, if I have any questions, I just send him a quick text message or contact him via FaceTime.”

“We're the only two Québécois here, so we definitely spend a little more time together,” Comtois says. “But since Nic and I are close, I also try to help him as much as I can.”

Since they were young, Beaudin and Comtois have loved to tease each other. It is their bond off the ice that contributes directly to their chemistry on the ice.

“Nic is the guy who always has a smile on his face and is funny, but works hard at whatever he does,” says Comtois. “Whether it's video games, at the gym or in during practice, he's a guy who always wants to win and do well. So that's the best part about hanging out with him; it brings out my competitive side.”

Beaudin is also a great complement to Comtois’ game. It’s that connection that helped them spend the final months of their junior hockey careers together with the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

“I knew I was going to get traded, because the [Victoriaville] Tigres were rebuilding in my last year,” Comtois recalls. “I mentioned to the GM that Drummondville was one of the cities where I would like to end up. Knowing that Nic was there, it tipped the scales in that direction for me. It was fun to be reunited and get to play together there. We had a strong finish to the season, without the result we wanted, but we had some success together.”

It's a well-known fact in the game – successful teams are often the ones that are the most close-knit. With a U18 AAA championship under their belts, a silver medal at the TELUS Cup and a long run to the QMJHL semifinals in 2019, it's no surprise Beaudin and Comtois enjoy such a strong friendship.

And although they’re more than 6,000 kilometres from Quebec, the pair have still found the best way to feel at home in Riga. The only two Québécois in the Canadian line-up, they admit it's nice to be able to laugh together while speaking a little French.

“The guys were all teasing us the other day, since we're the only two francophones on the club and, ironically, we're the ones who combined our efforts to score the first goal of our tournament,” Beaudin says with a laugh. “We immediately heard jokes and references to the French Connection.”

“Whether it was in [minor hockey] or with the Voltigeurs, we always had instant chemistry,” Comtois says. “We're both offensive guys, so we know where to be on the ice. That's what showed on my goal against the Americans.”

Virtually inseparable since their arrival in Riga, Beaudin and Comtois say they are happy to be able to add a new chapter to their friendship by participating in the IIHF worlds together.

And considering their shared history, it’s not a big surprise they share the same goal: to do their best to complement each other again on the ice and help Canada find success.

For more information:

Dominick Saillant
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
514-895-9706
[email protected]

 

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
[email protected]

 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]

 

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