‘Down on the farm’ is a bi-weekly feature series on Oil Caps prospects. Next up in this series: Patrick Comeau. Enjoy.
By Lanny Stewart
Patrick Comeau’s demeanour on the ice was described by his head coach as Carey Price like, which is fitting considering his love for the Montreal Canadiens.
“He doesn’t overreact to anything,” said Jeff Sveinson, head coach of the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League’s Winnipeg Bruins, regarding the 17-year-old Oil Caps prospect, who along with his father and paternal grandfather, are big fans of the Habs.
“He doesn’t get too high, he doesn’t get too low,” Sveinson added. “I really like that about him.”
That calmness to his game enabled the 5-foot-11, 195-pound blueliner to almost make the Oil Caps roster out of training camp this past fall.
“It was kind of one of those last-minute decisions,” said Troy Leslie, Oil Caps head coach and GM. “He felt strongly that it would be good to go back and be in the position that he’s in this year and you know what, it’s been a good decision for him.”
Now in his second season with the Bruins, Comeau has really come into his own, and in the process, has developed a more offensive side to his game as the Oil Caps’ second round pick in the 2016 MJHL Bantam Draft finds himself sitting fifth in team scoring with five goals and 19 points in 29 games (as of Jan. 3).
“He’s played in a lot of key situations and has been an important player for them,” Leslie added. “I think he keeps his game fairly simple, but over the past season, I’ve seen his confidence grow and I see that he’s really started to join the rush and become a little more offensive. I think the sky’s the limit for him.”
Jamie Hodson, director of business and hockey operations couldn’t agree more, adding that Comeau’s strength in the lower half of his body provides him with the ability to be a hard player to play against in his own end.
“He’s really solid and strong and he has the ability to make a good first pass out of the zone. He’s a heady guy in the offensive zone and we believe he could be on the power play at this level as well because of his high hockey IQ and puck awareness. We’re excited to have him part of our program and feel he can be a pillar to our team’s success moving forward.”
Comeau considered himself more of a shut-down type of blueliner during his younger years in minor hockey, but that all changed after joining the Warriors bantam program a few seasons ago.
“As my skating improved and I became more confident, I added more of an offensive side to my game which I enjoy and want to keep working on,” Comeau said. “It’s become a big part of my game and makes me a bigger threat.”
He says he’s enjoyed his interactions with Oil Caps management and the billet family he stayed with while he was in Virden during fall camp.
“I couldn’t have felt more at home. The coaches, training staff and scouts have also been great with me. Obviously, playing in Virden next year is my main goal and hopefully getting a scholarship would be my end goal. I’m just taking hockey one step at a time and enjoying every moment of it.”
A scout’s take
Comeau isn’t just composed while out on the ice, he’s also got an edge to his game as well, says Oil Caps Winnipeg-based scout Scott Coates.
“He’s one of those kids who just competes out there. He’s willing to go to the tough areas of the ice. He’ll probably be a depth guy to start out with the Oil Caps, but he can definitely develop into an impact guy for them.”
‘A fun-loving guy’
Off the ice, Comeau is known for his wittiness and is considered a real jokester.
“…And if I make a mistake, he’ll catch me on it kind of thing,” said Sveinson with a laugh. “I really enjoy him as a person. He’s just been a pleasure. He’s a very polite young man and very responsible.”
Other tidbits about Patrick . . .
-In his downtime, Comeau likes to hang out with friends and play video games, street hockey and other sports. He likes fishing and spending time on the water.
-Once he’s done playing hockey, he’d like to become a firefighter or electrician.
-Comeau is described as having a hard snap shot from the point. “It’s a weapon and he’s using it well,” Sveinson says. “He’s finding ways to funnel pucks to the net and we’re finding some rebounds and able to score some goals off it.”
-What’s the biggest highlight of his life thus far? “That would be my trip to Orlando with my family,” he said. “I just loved the hot weather, amusement parks, water parks and spending time with my family. It was something I will never forget.”