Eric Comrie Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire
Comrie just needs to look down on the inside of the shaft of his Bauer Hyperlite stick to see a hand-written reminder of the mantra he uses to maintain the proper mindset on the ice:
It’s scribbled in Sharpie on each of his sticks on the Sabres stick rack.
The concept of a mindset reminder on his stick has been something Comrie has embraced since junior. The words themselves changed last season when he started working with a new mental skills coach as part of his breakout .920 save percentage with the Winnipeg Jets.
“In junior, it was breathe and vision,” Comrie said. “It changed the breathe-centered because of my work with a mental skills coach, who brought up centered to me and said it’s a good mantra because it keeps you from going too far over to the happy side and too far to the angry side. You’ve got to be in the middle. Both can lead to bad things.”
The idea of angry Eric Comrie seems like a foreign concept to anyone who knows him.
“Ok, not like angry but more like red side,” Comrie responded with a laugh. “Like disappointed, upset, nervousness, and then the green side is like too excited, too happy, too joyful.”
The idea of using written reminders on the equipment isn’t new for goalies.
Cory Schneider kept the same message on the inside cuff of his blocker — first written himself, and later embroidered – from college hockey right up to the NHL:
“Don’t fear failure. Compete 100%. Enjoy the process. Play for others.”
“Sometimes it gets frantic and hectic back there and you start doubting yourself,” Schneider said, “So it’s good to have little reminders to look down at every once and a while.”
As Schneider indicated and Comrie confirmed, that doesn’t mean they go looking for it every time a goal goes in. But there a comfort in knowing it’s always there.
“Once while I notice it,” he said. “I never go looking for it because it’s in the back of my mind, but I just know it’s there. It kind of reminds me it’s there always there, and it’s nice to have.”
The stick message is for mindset, but Comrie has a different on-ice performance key phrase.
“I use ‘Skate Well’ because for me if I am skating well, it is going to put me in the best position, it’s going to give me the best chance to stop the pucks I can,” Comrie said. “You can’t control bounces and you can’t control where guys shoot, but if you’re skating well, you have control over how early you are set. It just it gives me the best opportunity to make the saves.”
Vancouver Canucks goalie prospect Michael DiPietro has also written different messages on the inside of his blocker over the years, and he shared the meanings with InGoal:
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