With the city of Truro, Nova Scotia representing the first leg of the 2021-22 PWHPA Dream Gap Tour, the event served as an exciting intersection for reunion, history and world-class competition. The first-ever professional women’s ice hockey event in the Maritimes, the presence of sensational stars from both sides of the border allowed for a much more meaningful event.
Among such heralded heroines included Demi Crossman, a highly skilled forward raised in Livonia, Michigan. Having worn the Stars and Stripes with the United States U-18 program, Crossman, who is nicknamed the Agitator, for her skills as a defensive forward, excelled at the NCAA level, enjoying 144 appearances with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.
A second-generation player, Crossman’s father, Jeff, a selection of the Los Angeles Kings in the 1984 NHL Draft, skated in the AHL with the New Haven Nighthawks and Cape Breton Oilers, followed by a stint with the IHL’s Denver Rangers. Enjoying her own professional sojourn, she has donned the jersey of the Minnesota Whitecaps, also skating in the final CWHL season.
Returning to the State of Hockey for PWHPA play, a member of the Team Adidas roster, the opportunity to be part of an exciting new chapter in professional women’s ice hockey history energized Crossman. In awe of the enthusiasm that the sold-out group of enthusiasts brought to the rink, inspired by the gathering of youth players in their club jerseys, it certainly set the tone for an enjoyable time in Truro,
“The atmosphere was incredible!! The fans really brought the energy and that always adds something to your game. Seeing the groups of kids with their team and repping their team jerseys is something we missed very much last year.
I love being able to get some good social distance eye contact and a social distance fist bump to the glove coming and going to the locker room. It brings me back to what feels not long ago when I was standing in those kids shoes looking up to my favorite players.”
Prior to the event in Truro, Crossman’s season began as a member of the PWHPA All-Stars competing in a three-game series versus the United States National Team in Blaine, Minnesota. Earlier in 2021, Crossman also participated in the PWHPA’s Showcase Event in St. Louis, elated to skate on NHL ice at the Enterprise Center.
Although Team Adidas did not compete in Truro, the club graciously loaned out several of their players. Suiting up for Boston-based Team Bauer in Truro, the experience provided elements of enjoyment and reunion for Crossman. Having once played professionally in New England for the vaunted Blades franchise, suiting up for their only season in Worcester, Massachusetts, many familiar faces from said season were part of this latest chapter in her PWHPA.
“I was fired up to join Team Boston for that weekend! I used to play for the Worcester Blades in the CWHL with Lauren Williams, Meghan Turner, Shannon Hickley, and Megan Grieves so it was the best union to get to play alongside them again.”
Additionally, Williams and fellow Team Bauer skater Alexa Gruschow played alongside Crossman as All-Stars in Blaine. Despite a highly talented roster not reaching the championship game, the experience far outweighed the final score.
Getting the opportunity to play together once again, part of a new chapter for professional women’s hockey history, Crossman’s reflections involve a combination of humility and privilege. Gracing the ice at Truro’s Rath Eastlink Community Centre, bringing Atlantic Canada a stirring display of elite women’s ice hockey talent, proved an enjoyable reward, reciprocated with a respect for game and fans alike.
“Being a part of something bigger than the games itself will always be the most memorable part of the weekend. I am blessed to share moments in women’s hockey history. It is indescribable and it makes you take moments where you step back and take it all in. That is not something you necessarily experience at the college level so it is truly a special element.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”