As the younger sister of, quite possibly, the most famous hockey player in the world, Taylor Crosby graces the ice with an ethereal serenity, refusing to be overwhelmed or burdened. While the name recognition certainly makes Crosby stand out in any hockey-related situation, also resulting in a significant amount of prose focused on her sisterly status, there is no question that all the achievements in such a promising career were accomplished through commitment and hard work.
Combining a solid work ethic, maturity and an appreciation for the game, these elements have transformed Crosby into both a valued teammate and friend. Such an approach is one that the St. Cloud State Huskies hockey program hopes will help contribute to an exciting new era where it shall ascend into the conversation of the WCHA Final Faceoff.
Such values were instilled in her at an early age, establishing herself as a multi-sport star in softball and swimming. Perhaps the most unique element in Crosby’s goaltending career is the fact that she is following in the footsteps of her father. Of note, Troy Crosby was a goaltender for the Verdun Jr. Canadiens in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, logging a 21-15-2 mark during the 1984-85 season. Selected in the 12th round of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, he would appear with Verdun in the 1985 Memorial Cup. As Taylor discloses, her father’s biggest advice has stayed with her throughout.
“Work hard, have fun, the rest will take care of itself. Obviously we will talk about the technical game of goaltending. But from the time I started playing he would always reiterate "work hard, have fun, the rest will take care of itself." Even though I don’t want to admit it, he’s right.”
Approaching the 2016-17 season with an increased confidence, the opportunity to suit up for the St. Cloud State Huskies since the autumn of 2015 has represented a unique homecoming for Crosby. Having played at the prep school level for the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary’s academy, based in Faribault, Minnesota, having posted two straight seasons with a goals against average under 2.00, Crosby is among a growing number of exceptional alums, which includes the likes of Brianna Decker and Amanda Kessel, along with her brother Sidney and Ty Gretzky, among others.
Of note, Crosby’s first season of NCAA hockey actually took place at Boston’s Northeastern University Huskies, one of the elite programs in Hockey East play.
Although the decision to transfer to St. Cloud for the 2015-16 campaign was a visceral one for Crosby, it marked an exceptional and courageous maturity. Recognizing a situation that may not have represented the most ideal option early in Crosby’s career, she has found a new home with St. Cloud, extending her career in the State of Hockey.
“Although it was tough to leave some of my friends at Northeastern I knew that it wasn’t the place for me. I was ready to find a new home with more opportunities. Since I arrived it has been nothing but an amazing experience. Obviously I enjoy the education at State, but my teammates have been the thing I enjoyed most. Getting up going to school, and being excited to go to the rink with your team- there isn’t anything better.”
The 2015-16 season would prove to be a valuable learning experience for Crosby. Serving in a backup capacity to Katie Fitzgerald, who would become the first Huskies alum to sign a contract in pro women’s hockey with the NWHL’s New York Riveters, it allowed Crosby to find a mentor, while adjusting to her new surroundings.
Of note, there was also a unique connection in joining St. Cloud State. Assistant coach Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiej was among the participants for Team USA in women’s ice hockey at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. Crosby and her parents, Troy and Trina, were in attendance at Vancouver, as her brother skated for Canada at the Games.
Appearing in three games for the Huskies during said season, she would gain the prestige of winning in her NCAA debut, which was also her first career start. Making 21 saves in an October 3, 2015 road win against the North Andover-based Merrimack Warriors, Hannah Potrykus would log the game winning goal for the Huskies in the second period. As a side note, Felilia Manu would score for Merrimark in the game, becoming the first player at the NCAA level to score against Crosby.
“I think every hockey player dreams of playing their first collegiate game. For a goalie sometimes you have to wait awhile for that. I was fortunate to get my first game in pretty early and it was a dream come true. Not only to get the win, but being able to recall two years prior, imagining playing my first game. It was a really cool experience.”
Along with the arrival of freshman goaltender Janine Alder, who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Games with Switzerland, the combination of Alder and Crosby may eventually provide the Huskies with the finest goaltending tandem in WCHA hockey. Coincidentally, Alder would also win her first NCAA game against Merrimack, making 24 saves in a September 30, 2016 victory. As a side note, Alder is one of three Europeans on the Huskies roster, joined by Finland’s Suvi Ollikainen and Sweden’s Carol Markstrom.
Just a few days earlier, Crosby would make her debut for the 2016-17 season. Gaining the start on September 24, 2016 against the Wisconsin Badgers (only the second start in her NCAA career), Crosby supplied a valiant effort, making a career-high 52 saves in a 4-2 final against the Wisconsin Badgers. Despite the heartbreaking loss, an encouraging sign was the fact that the Huskies held the lead entering the third period. A pair of goals from Sam Cogan would set the tone for the Badgers in the comeback.
Such a performance has displayed that Crosby is ready to make an impact at the NCAA level, which should result in her first Huskies win on home ice at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center inevitable. Should Crosby assemble other masterful goaltender performance, the balance of power in WCHA hockey may experience a shift. Taking into account the impact that goaltender Brittany Mowat held as a member of the Bemidji State Beavers, which included defeating the powerhouse Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 2015 postseason, it has provided a strong sense of belief throughout the WCHA, displaying that even the most dominant programs can be susceptible to loss.
Despite such potential, Crosby’s outlook for this season is one of focus on taking care of the details, while getting things done. All part of a meticulous effort that should ensure the bigger achievements shall fall into place. With a love of the game firmly in place, there is no question that she should quickly emerge as a fan favorite with the St. Cloud faithful, while continuously committed towards giving her time a chance to win.
“Looking at this season, I think I am just taking it day by day. Going to the rink everyday (and) working hard to get better. Whether that means getting ahead in school before a weekend series, doing rehab, or making sure I am eating the right things. I just want to be the best I can be. Obviously I want to play, but like I said, I am just taking it day, by day and enjoying the chance to play hockey.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”