SHEFFIELD – If there is one thing that can be said about the Crosby family, its that they are a competitive bunch. Aside from Stanley Cup winning captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Olympic gold medal winner Sidney Crosby, the clan also includes his sister, 17-year-old Taylor, who is looking to make a name for herself as a goaltender following in the footsteps of their father Troy, a former netminder who was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens.
For Taylor, the 2013 IIHF High Performance Camp is another step towards a dream to take the same path as her big brother to the Olympic Games. She sat down with IIHF.com to talk about her game, her plans, and being part of one of Canada’s hockey families.
When did you first start playing hockey?
“I was ten when I just decided to play goalie. I took a little bit of convincing my parents at first. I think they thought I just wanted to get into hockey because of my brother and that I didn’t really want to, but once they let me go play I went to a hockey camp and loved it. My dad was a goalie, so it was really in my blood to play.”
Ten years old is pretty late for a Canadian girl.
“(Laughs) yeah I know, I started getting into sports around that age: competitive softball for awhile where I was a catcher, and volleyball and horseback riding. I kind of tried a bunch of things but ultimately hockey was what I loved the most.”
How would you describe your goaltending style?
“Between standup and butterfly I’d like to think I ‘m a little bit of both. I love to battle and I consider myself to be very competitive. I hate losing.”
Being competitive runs in the family huh?
“Oh yes (laughs)”
How has your dad helped you develop as a goaltender?
“He helps a lot with the basics and stresses having a serious work ethic and being a competitor in order to succeed. It’s really great having him around to help me out.”
Was he happy that you picked his old position?
“I think he was nervous at first but also a little excited inside. Both my parents were hesitant to let me play but he was really happy that I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”
When you decided to play what was the next step?
I went to the Allan Andrews hockey camp in PEI. It was a week-long camp and the first time I ever put on the whole goalie gear on and got a feel for the movements.
So you’ve been playing for seven years now, was there a specific moment when you decided that you wanted to pursue hockey as a career?
“I think from when I first started to play I told myself I wanted to make it to the Olympics. But that really was just a goal, aiming high right off the bat. But when I got to see the Canadian women’s team play in Vancouver that was the spark that made me feel like this was something that I really want to work towards. Just the emotion of the games and how happy the team and the fans were…that’s something that drives me even today.”
What was your childhood like growing up in Cole Harbour?
“Pretty normal, growing up my brother was there, we are 8 ½ years apart so he was a bit older, but we’d do our homework together and go to school. When I was six he left to go to Shattuck (St. Mary’s). Being a six year old and having your older brother leaving was pretty hard, I remember it felt devastating for me but even then I knew that’s what he wanted to do it. And I got to experience other cool things like going to Rimouski and to a few places in Europe to see him play.”
“In Cole Harbour, everyone pretty much knows each other, and it’s mostly through hockey that they get together, so it’s a great place to grow up.”
As Sidney Crosby’s sister, did you ever get heckled when you were playing on the road?
“Not too much, but of course there are some and the hardest part is hearing people say mean things about your brother, because you know him as a person and those things they say just aren’t true. So you want to go say something back to them but you can’t you just have to hold back. I think that’s probably the most difficult thing.”
Does he ever discuss this with you?
“Oh yeah, he always says it doesn’t matter what people think, and that those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. So that’s kind of the saying that him and our parents put into our heads, so when I get angry that’s what I try to think about.”
When did you first start to get involved with the national team?
“This is actually my first year, I started in the provincial program but this is my first year trying out for the Canadian team. It came as a surprise, a few days before the camp actually started, and it’s a huge honour.”
“I was nervous before I went, but I figured that if they didn’t think I was good enough they wouldn’t have asked me to come. I got to see how I measured up against the best goalies in the country, and see where I’m at and what I need to work on.”
In terms of the national team, are you aiming to make the national team for the next World Championship?
“Yes, after this camp I’m hoping to get invited to that camp, but if not I will still continue to work towards the U-22 next year and keep trying until I’m done.”
What are some other long term goals?
“Obviously the ultimate goal would be playing in the Olympics, but also I would like to play in (NCAA) Division I hockey and go to school and graduate. I won’t be able to play hockey forever but I’d like to go as far as I can.”
Have you thought about a career outside of hockey?
“I always wanted to be a vet, but now I’m thinking about psychology.”
What are your impressions of the High Performance Camp so far?
“It’s awesome, not just being on the ice with so many great coaches but also meeting so many girls from diverse backgrounds who all love hockey. Since I’ve been here I met girls from Russia and other countries and made some great friendships. When you see people from countries like Hungary who are so into hockey it’s really heartwarming and makes you step up your own game.”
When you go to camps like these, do you have a specific goal in mind that you work on?
“Over time you think about little things that you always want to work on, but for me I always want to be the best goaltender at the camp, and if I’m not then by the end of it I want to be the best out there or close to it.”
People talk about your brother’s work ethic and how it separates him from a lot of other top players in the NHL, where do you think he got it from?
“I think through my parents. My dad really pushed him growing up, and I think because part of it was that my dad had no one pushing him when he grew up and he had to do it for himself. So he wanted my brother to have someone to help him along the way. That was the main thing at first for my brother, and now he maintains it through the season and offseason. I can say that I have never seen anyone work as much as he has, it’s mind-blowing to be honest.”
“It’s crazy, he talks about different things that he does in workouts that I think are insane, and how he refuses to eat anything good in his diet. He basically eats nothing haha, it has to be good for him. We’ll play ring toss in the summer and I’ll beat him a couple of times but he won’t stop playing me until he’s won. That’s who he is.”
Do you guys practice hockey when he comes back in the summer?
“Not so much on the ice, but we’ll practice together and he’ll take some shots and I try to stop them. I’ll make a few stops on him and then he’ll pull out an amazing move and I just shrug my shoulders and say to myself ‘well whatever he plays in the NHL so at least I got a couple of stops on him’ (laughs).”
As an older brother was he ever a pest to you?
“Well yeah as any older brother is. I remember when I was growing up I’d watch The Lion King and get upset at the part where Simba’s father dies. He would tease me and re-enact the same scene. It was terrible!”
Now I’m older and he’s older but we’re still two stubborn people. He tries to tell me what to do and I’m the typical teenage girl who refuses to listen (laughs).”