Canada’s Jared McIsaac, left, and Maxime Comtois celebrate Comtois’ goal against the Czech Republic during first period IIHF world junior hockey championship action in Vancouver, on Saturday December 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Maxime Comtois’ dramatic intro key to Team Canada’s pre-game routine

VANCOUVER — Maxime Comtois’ teammates were stunned on Boxing Day when he started screaming in the tunnel before Team Canada took the ice in their first game of the world junior hockey championship.

“I didn’t know what was going on. I look behind and it’s just Max yelling and everyone was just kind of shocked,” said centre Shane Bowers.

Taking inspiration from the announcing at a UFC mixed martial arts card, the team captain introduced the “main event” at the top of his voice in an effort to pump up the group.

Canada routed Denmark 14-0 in that game, then went on to win their next two round-robin match ups.

Comtois’ booming ritual has continued and it’s one the other players have come to expect.

“You kind of see him come out and it’s only a matter of seconds until he starts chanting. Now it’s just kind of a routine that’s been having success so I think he’s just going to keep it going,” Bowers said.

“I think the guys get a good kick out of it.”

Comtois, the only returning player from last year’s gold medal-winning team, said he’s just trying to get his teammates fired up before they hit the ice.

“Maybe it helps but … we have a good mindset and everyone’s on board right from the start. It’s good to have that,” said the Anaheim Ducks prospect.

A video of Comtois’ dramatic pre-game introductions caught the attention of UFC announcer Bruce Buffer on Monday.

“Very cool,” he tweeted, followed by a series of emojis.

Comtois smiled when he heard the news.

“That means I’m doing a good job,” he said. “So I’ll take that.”

Team Canada coach Tim Hunter is also impressed with how the 19-year-old left-winger has performed this year.

The coaching staff tasked him with working on his maturity after last year’s tournament and the young athlete stepped up, Hunter said.

“Right from the gritty things to getting guys ready in the activation before they get dressed, going out and managing warmup, getting them settled down after warmup then getting them charged up before they go out. He’s played like a leader, he’s led by example,” Hunter said.

“It’s impressive and that’s why he’s the captain of our team.”

Comtois isn’t the only player with a pre-game routine. Centre Jaret Anderson-Dolan and defenceman Ty Smith play rock-paper-scissors before hitting the ice. The winner buys coffee the next morning.

Anderson-Dolan, one of Canada’s assistant captains, isn’t sure how the ritual began but said it’s long running.

“We just got into it one day and I think we played well that game,” he said. ”And ever since, we’ve just done it every day.”

The L.A. Kings prospect has a few wins in a row on Smith, but said the record is “all over the place.”

“It’s just a fun thing, keeps us loose before games,” he said.

Hunter said he warned his players that he wouldn’t be responsible for pre-game prep.

“That’s the one thing I told them — I’m not a cheerleader,” he said. “I’m not going to get you revved up before the game but you’ve got to yourself in an emotional spot where you’re prepared to compete and you’re not over the line.”

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce announces business of the year winners

All finalists ‘displayed courage’ this year, says chamber CEO

More than 400 COVID-19 cases reported in Alberta Wednesday, according to multiple reports. (File photo)
Over 400 additional COVID-19 cases Wednesday

3,372 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta

A 47-megawatt solar power project has been proposed for a site southwest of the Nova Chemicals petrochemical complex.
Map contributed
$52-million solar power project proposed for Joffre

Project to be built southwest of Nova Chemicals plant could be producing power by the end of 2021

AnnaMarie Lea, artistic director of Lacombe’s Cow Patti Theatre, thinks a lot of people would love to focus on something other than the pandemic, with a few hours of entertainment. (Contributed photo).
Some Red Deer-area shows will go on — with new pandemic precautions

Some theatrical productions are happening under new rules

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer will be at the legislature Thursday to urge members of the UCP caucus to drop the plan to consolidate EMS dispatch by Jan. 4. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Red Deer mayor takes EMS consolidation fight to Edmonton

Mayors of Red Deer, Lethbridge, Calgary and Wood Buffalo to address UCP caucus on Thursday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier isolating after minister tests positive for COVID-19

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is isolating at home

Tampa Bay Rays' Brandon Lowe rounds the bases after a home run off Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin during the first inning in Game 2 of the baseball World Series Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Lowe homers twice, Rays hold off Dodgers 6-4 to even Series

Lowe homers twice, Rays hold off Dodgers 6-4 to even Series

Mighty Heart is held outside trainer Josie Carroll's stable by exercise rider Des McMahon, as the colt is washed down after being breezed at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto on October 15, 2020. Mighty Heart will make his Triple Crown quest from the the No. 8 post Saturday. The Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales champion was named the even-money favourite in the draw Wednesday for the $400,000 Breeders' Stakes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Mighty Heart to take run at ending Triple Crown drought in $400,000 Breeders Stakes

Mighty Heart to take run at ending Triple Crown drought in $400,000 Breeders Stakes

Toronto Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro watches during baseball spring training in Dunedin, Fla., on Friday, February 24, 2017/ Short on specifics and long on bullishness, Shapiro set an optimistic tone during his first general media availability since the team was eliminated from the post-season a few weeks ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro short on specifics, long on bullishness

Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro short on specifics, long on bullishness

Liverpool's Fabinho, saves from the goal line after a header from Ajax's captain Dusan Tadic from scoring during the group D Champions League soccer match between Ajax and Liverpool at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Real Madrid beaten again, Bayern surges in Champions League

Real Madrid beaten again, Bayern surges in Champions League

Toronto Wolfpack captain Josh McCrone raises the Betfred Championship Trophy alongside teammates after defeating the Featherstone Rovers in the Million Pound Game in Betfred Championship rugby league action in Toronto on October 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Financially troubled Toronto Wolfpack could learn fate soon as early as next week

Financially troubled Toronto Wolfpack could learn fate soon as early as next week

Kansas City Chiefs' Demarcus Robinson (11) holds off Buffalo Bills' Tre'Davious White (27) as Bills' Justin Zimmer (61) also pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Bills defence looks to rebound after consecutive losses

Bills defence looks to rebound after consecutive losses

CPL champion Forge FC ready for CONCACAF League opener in El Salvador

CPL champion Forge FC ready for CONCACAF League opener in El Salvador

Most Read