A week after being the target of trolls on social media, Quebec-born forward Maxime Comtois has spoken out publicly for the first time.
The captain of Canada’s world junior championship squad took to Twitter Wednesday to thank all of those who sent encouraging messages following the attacks.
Comtois, an Anaheim Ducks prospect and current Quebec Major Junior Hockey League player with the Drummondville Voltigeurs, invited other victims of online bullying to talk about their experiences.
“Cyber bullying is a real threat. No one should go through that,” he wrote. “Let’s prevent it. If you are getting bullied or ever had been please speak up.”
He attached a message saying he and his teammates “gave their hearts and souls, both on and off the ice, to represent our country to the best of our abilities.”
The left winger was stopped on a penalty shot in overtime in Canada’s 2-1 quarter-final loss to Finland Jan. 2 and, when Finland subsequently scored, Canada failed to make the medal round for the first time in 21 years.
He faced a barrage of hateful messages on social media after the loss, some of which criticized him for missing the penalty shot and others that attacked him for allegedly embellishing when he was hit on various plays.
The 19-year-old had five goals and an assist during the tournament, and his NHL team revealed Saturday he was playing with a separated shoulder that will leave him on the sidelines for about two weeks.
The Ducks took Comtois in second round of the 2017 NHL entry draft.