January 3, 2019 3:42 pm

Quebec politician says criticism of junior hockey team captain is ‘anti-francophone racism’

Team Canada loses in a shootout to Finland in the quarterfinals

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A Quebec politician says Instagram insults against Canadian world junior hockey team captain Maxime Comtois are “anti-francophone racism.”

Parti Québécois interim leader Pascal Bérubé used Twitter to share his feelings after Comtois was hit hard with criticism after missing on a penalty shot during overtime in a 2-1 loss to Finland in the world junior championship quarterfinals Wednesday.

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READ MORE: Heartbreak as Team Canada eliminated by Finland from World Junior tournament

Several comments pointed out that the 19-year-old Comtois, a native of Longueuil, Que., is French.

Commenting was disabled on recent pictures overnight, but some comments still remained Thursday morning.

Instagram user @snacc_hyman wrote “The captain of the Canadian hockey team shouldn’t dive like an Italian soccer player and come up with such a pathetic attempt on an overtime penalty shot.”

READ MORE: Member of Canada’s 1995 World Junior squad pleads for return of gold medal

After the barrage of criticism, several users posted messages of support for Comtois.

User @lordstanleypff wrote “He doesn’t deserve the hate or anything negative. He’s a junior for God’s sake.

“He did everything to represent HIS country.”

The Roy Sports Group, which represents Comtois, put out a statement on Thursday afternoon.

“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,” the statement reads.

“We will make this one and only statement on this subject, so not to validate anymore the cowardly comments made on social media. 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 all need to stand up to them and call them out for what they are. Thank you for shedding a spotlight on a major problem in our society.”

WATCH BELOW: Team Canada eliminated by Finland

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 practising 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 loss for Canada means the country will not play for a world junior medal for only the second time in 21 years.

READ MORE: IIHF World Juniors 2018-19 — Players to watch, Team Canada schedule and everything else you need to know

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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