Demko on time in Utica: ‘I grew up a lot here’

Sports

Thatcher Demko’s time with the Comets may be over for good.

He’s set to be called up to the Canucks later this week following Wednesday’s trade that sent Anders Nillson and Darren Archibald to the Senators.

“If this was my last time in Utica, then I’ve really enjoyed it,” Demko said.

His return earlier in the season from a concussion helped turn things around for the Comets, who have gone from last place to being in prime position to make the playoffs.

“I think the timing is really good,” head coach Trent Cull said.  “Thatcher’s always been very mature.  His calming influence on our team has been great.  If another team gets a goal, he’ll (say) we’re alright.  He’s going to have our backs and we’ll be fine.  Hopefully we get to see more of that, but we’ll certainly miss it if he’s not here.”

Demko was in his third season in Utica after being drafted 36th overall by the Canucks in the 2014 draft out of Boston College.

“I grew up a lot here,” Demko said.  “I came in as a young college kid and definitely had some growing pains the first year just trying to learn how to play at this level.”

He turned out to be a pretty good student.  Last season, he earned his first All-Star selection and set the franchise single-season record for victories with 25.

“There’s a lot of guys in this room that I can give a lot of credit to for helping me on and off the ice,” he said.  “There have been a lot of special moments in this building with this group.”

Demko has also managed to develop a personal connection with the Comets fans.

“They’ve meant a lot to me,” he said.  “Hopefully, I’ve been able to impact them in a positive way.  They’ve had our backs every night.  Even when we’re not playing our best hockey, they’re still here and cheering us on.  The fan base is something that I think Utica has a great reputation for I think it will continue to grow moving forward.”

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