When you’re a kid, you’re encouraged to set goals.
Manitoba Moose players and lifelong friends Chase De Leo and Eric Comrie penciled an ambitious goal at the age of 14. Currently, they’re on the right path to accomplish that goal alongside another hometown friend and teammate, Brendan Lemieux.
“Ever since the first day (me and Eric) met, we became best friends.” said Chase De Leo.
The friendship between the two began when Eric moved from Edmonton to California. The two represented Los Angeles in the Brick Youth Hockey Tournament (which Eric’s father Bill started) and from that point on, a strong bond was formed.
One day, after the usual mini stick festivities had concluded at the Comrie residence, the two decided to make a pact to each other.
— Chase De Leo (@Dels9) June 29, 2014
“It’s funny how things happen when you write (goals) down on paper.” said Eric Comrie with a beaming grin.
Last year, De Leo and Comrie lived together as they made a challenging leap from junior hockey to pro hockey. The two were each others fallback as they adjusted to life without billet families serving as their second parents. This season, Comrie and De Leo have reciprocated the support and hospitality they gave each other onward to Brendan Lemieux, another close hometown friend of theirs, who cracked the Moose’s lineup this past fall.
As Lemieux adjusts to pro hockey, he’s had the advantage of having not one, but two friends from back home that can help him transition to the AHL lifestyle.
“(Brendan and I) hangout almost every day in the summer, so being able to hangout during the season every single day helps us on the ice as well as off the ice.” said De Leo.
It can be a hard adjustment to go from being a point per game player in junior to battling for minutes in an AHL teams bottom six. Lemieux, son of hall-of-fame forward Claude Lemieux, is in a transition phase, thus explaining his slow offensive production in his rookie season. Scoring at a low pace along with playing on a team like the Moose (who are in the basement of the AHL standings) can be tough for a youngster like Lemieux. Thankfully for him, his two buddies Comrie and De Leo are their to support him through the good and the bad.
“It’s been great for Brendan to have both Chase and I and It’s really nice for us all to be together.” Comrie emphasized.
The three Californians have been a constant support system for each other through the long bus rides, back to backs and grind of an AHL season. While the experience of playing together in the AHL has been a blast for the trio, the ultimate goal remains what the pact states– to play in the NHL together alongside one another and being best friends till the end.
Being best friends till the end hardly seems like a question to these Cali buddies.
“(Chase and Brendan) are excellent players and I think they are going to be in the NHL very soon.” Comrie generously reiterates.
One things for sure; whether these three play alongside in the NHL or not, they’ll always have each other’s backs no matter what.