Mike Comrie is the newest Pittsburgh Penguins forward after signing him a few weeks back to a one-year, $500,000 contract. It won't take you too long to realize that Comrie also "ups" the hotness factor on this already gorgeous team in addition to possibly being the next best candidate for filling the role of the all-to-infamous "winger for Sid!"
While attending and playing collegiate hockey for the University of Michigan, Comrie was drafted 3rd in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers (91st overall). He was one of the first players to take advantage of the loophole established by the "Van Ryn Ruling" by joining the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2000-2001 after playing two seasons for the University of Michigan and signing with the Edmonton Oilers halfway through the season collecting a paycheck well above the league max for draftees in 2001 ($10 million for 3 years; $1.13 million / year, per year, over three years). Prior to this ruling, NHL teams "retained the rights of drafted collegians until they leave school," but that changed in June 1999 when Michigan Wolverines defenseman Mike Van Ryn took the issue to court and an arbitrator ruled that "a player drafted off a college team could play one season of major junior hockey as an overage player (20 years old) and then become a free agent."
Mike has an older sister, Cathy, and older brother, Paul, who also played with the Edmonton Oilers for a short time prior to Mike being drafted. His mother passed away in 1990 after a battle with cancer and their father, William (Bill), remarried extending Mike's family by a step-mother and two younger half-brothers, Eric and Ty, who share in the dream of playing in the NHL.
As a player, Mike has speed on top of skill which is where all the talk of his playing on the top line with Sid comes from. Everyone believes those qualities as a player would make him a good fit and would enable him to keep up with Sid. He also has alot of grit and doesn't back away from throwing down the gloves when he feels the need ... this is something that's quite attractive and has me looking forward to seeing from his this season. The Pens could definitely use more grit to help Matt Cooke in that department!
Like his son, Bill himself was also a promising young hockey player, being signed by the Chicago Black Hawks, aged 16. The 1968–69 season, saw Bill playing his last year of junior hockey with his hometown Edmonton Oil Kings. In the fall of 1969, Bill was all set to attend the Black Hawks training camp, but after the untimely death of his father, Herb (Mike's grandfather), Bill immediately made the decision to cut his hockey career short, and took over the running of his father's business, to support his family.