CALGARY – Taylor Crosby says she didn’t choose goaltending to avoid comparisons with her famous brother Sidney.
The younger sister of the NHL superstar thinks she’ll still be compared to him in terms of how far she goes in her hockey career. She’s OK with that.
“Even now, there is a comparison I think from the media or other people, but I don’t put it on myself,” Taylor said Thursday night in Calgary. “I think a lot of people will expect you to be a certain way or to be a certain type of player and be really good.
“I know I’m my own person. I try to use him as a role model and (follow) his work ethic, but I don’t compare myself to him. I’m never going to be him and he’s never going to be me.”
The 17-year-old from Cole Harbour, N.S., was one of 15 female goaltending prospects Hockey Canada invited to a five-day camp that opened Thursday evening at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre.
While Sidney Crosby and his Pittsburgh Penguins attempt to stave off elimination in the NHL’s Eastern Conference final, Taylor is getting her first taste of the national women’s hockey program.
She is one of eight goaltenders under the age of 18 invited to camp, while the other seven are under-22 prospects.
“It’s really cool,” she said. “It’s my first time I’ve experienced being part of the national team program.”
She didn’t start playing hockey until the relatively late age of 10. Sidney, eight years her senior, was living away from home playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the Rimouski Oceanic.
Crosby can’t quite pinpoint why goaltending was her calling, other than the fact her father Troy was a goaltender who was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1984.
“I just woke up one day and said ‘going to be a goalie,’” she said. “Part of it was my dad. He was a goalie. I was always a little weird, so it kind of fits.”
Crosby is entering her senior year at the Minnesota prep school Shattuck-St. Mary’s, where her brother led the boys’ team to a national title in 2003.
The five-foot-eight, 150-pound Crosby posted a 13-7 record, a 2.04 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and three shutouts for the girls’ prep team this past season.
Sidney Crosby started shooting pucks on his sister in 2010. He continues to do so if they happen to be home at the same time and Taylor is about to head off to school.
“As I get older I’m stopping a few more. I think he’s getting frustrated,” she said with a laugh.
There are perks to being Sidney Crosby’s sibling. One is going to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.
Interestingly, Crosby chooses as her highlight the Canadian women’s hockey team winning the gold medal ahead of her brother’s overtime goal in the men’s final. She sees Sidney as a brother first and a hockey player second.
“I think he’s a really great person and a really great brother,” Crosby said. “I’m just really happy he’s my brother, not just because he’s a hockey player, but the kind of person he is.”
Crosby was a late addition to the women’s under-18 invitees this week as the initial roster was seven.
“You never want to miss anybody,” Hockey Canada’s female scout Melody Davidson said. “She had shown potential in past years so it’s probably a good move to take a look at where she’s at, someone you don’t get to see often and eligible to play for our country.”
Davidson has watched Crosby play a few times over the years.
“Pretty good size in the net and she uses that size well,” is Davidson’s scouting report. “How she’s going to mature and grow as a goalie is what we’re checking in on and we’ll see how it goes from there.
“She’s young for sure and all these young goalies are inconsistent. You’re never sure what you’re going to get from them. That’s what we’re looking for at goalie camp – where do they fit in in terms of their consistency and their work ethic. In the end, it’s about do they stop the puck or not?”
Crosby says she and Sidney regularly text each other. She’s been watching his playoff games even though it’s hard on her nerves.
“It’s definitely emotional,” she said. “I find myself holding the blanket over my head a lot, but I’m really happy for him.
“Although they are in a bit of a slump, he’s seems to be happy and doing what he loves to do. As long as that’s the case . . . and he doesn’t get his teeth knocked out anymore.”