A Sit-Down Interview
An Edge Student since grade 5, is ranked 207th by International Scouting Services ahead of the 2018 NHL Draft.
What is your most vivid first Hockey Memory?
Me and my brother [Tristan Crozier, Edge School Class of 2016] played a lot of mini sticks in the basement but what comes to mind is a picture that my mom still caries around. It’s of me wearing my dads goalie mask when I was two years old with a hockey stick in my hand.
Favourite Sport Outside Hockey?
Either lacrosse or tennis. Tennis is more of a hobby, playing with the family. I played lacrosse growing up until I was 13 and decided to focus more on hockey.
Do you follow any sports outside of hockey?
Baseball, I’m a pretty big Blue Jays fan. A little bit of tennis and basketball but mostly just hockey.
Who do you pattern your game off of?
I’m a big fan of Drew Doughty. He is very tenacious, skilled and great defensively and he can still contribute offensively. Another player in Calgary that I got to see a lot of is Mark Giordano. He does the little things, like sacrificing his body and you can tell he’s a good leader by the way he carries himself.
What does your pre-game routine look like?
I have a pretty structured one… I make sure I have a good breakfast and head to the rink where we always have a morning meeting and team stretch. I’d get home at 11, have another breakfast and then have a nap or relax. My brother would get up at 2 for a 7 o’clock game and make pasta, I would get up at 3 and eat at 3:15. I always have to stop at Tim’s on my way to the rink, I’d get a medium double-double and a muffin. At the rink I would always tape both my sticks and then head up to the stands and drink my coffee and focus on the game. I always had to be the first one out on the ice after the goalie and I had a handshake with a few teammates before we hit the ice.
What is on your iPod?
I’m a big Country fan, but honestly I pretty much listen to all music.
How do you balance school and hockey?
In Junior you have to be more disciplined. It was especially difficult given I was the only player on the team still in school. I had a tutor that was a big help. During my time at Edge the support was great. Teachers understand the demands but push you to strive in your academics not only your athletics.
Talk about your support system (parents, coaches, teachers):
Going to Nanaimo, the biggest thing was having Tristan there. I got to live with him and having already played 3 years of Junior, he was able to show me the ropes – how to cook, how the billet process works, those type of things. The coaching staff in Nanaimo, especially Mike Vandekamp and Dustin Donaghy, were phenomenal and really helped me with the transition to Junior hockey. Obviously my parents were extremely supportive and were able to visit often throughout the season. My grandparents live 45 minutes away. My grandma would bake cookies for my brother and me and our grandpa was able to come to every home game.
Can you speak to a time where you had to overcome some adversity?
I had two injuries back to back early in the year. I separated my shoulder and then sprained my MCL. It was difficult given it was my first year of Junior and I wanted to get in there and prove myself. I just had to make sure that I kept practicing hard because that is the only time that coaches get to see you. I was fortunate that we had a great leadership group that really helped me and the other younger players at the beginning of the year.
How was your experience playing at Edge? Do you have a favourite memory at Edge?
Of all my years of hockey, my E15 and Prep year were probably my most fun. In E15s, we made it to the Finals of the Sports School Challenge, the Denver Tournament, won the Chestermere Tournament and lost in the CSSHL Finals. It was a fun year. Last year with Prep, obviously it’s fun winning [Champions in both the World Sports School Challenge and the CSSHL Finals]. That was a special team as far as coming together as a group. We are all still really good buddies, when you see Wonger and Spads (Edge School Class of 2017) back here at the school to train in the DPC; they are stopping in to say hi. Those two seasons were probably the best for my development.
What was the biggest challenge transitioning from Prep to the BCHL?
I think the speed was the biggest adjustment. As a defenceman in Midget, you are used to having the tightest gap possible but in Junior every team has 2 or 3 guys that could just blow right by you, so you really need to be aware of who you are on the ice against. At the Prep level, I saw myself as a leader. In Junior, you are just a passenger.
What about the travel schedule? Did the CSSHL help you prepare at all in that aspect?
The format with the weekend trips of the CSSHL is similar to the Junior formats or the College schedule. We would play the rare weekday game, similar to at Edge, where you would play Banff or IHA on a weekday. The travel was actually more demanding in the CSSHL, being in the Island Division, our furthest trip was 2.5 hours.
Could you talk about your decision to go Junior and then NCAA?
My dad went to Cornell. There was that influence as I’ve looked up to him my entire hockey career. I’ve always considered myself a late bloomer. I wasn’t drafted into the WHL and the college route gives you more time to develop and still have looks from professional teams, and there is the advantage of getting a great education in the process.
How did you deal with the pressure and expectations in your Draft year?
I’m not too worried about it, I want to go to college and have committed to Providence College for the 2019-20 season. I came to Nanaimo and was offered the 7/8th defenceman spot and I came in looking to stick in the lineup. As the season progressed, I started to make more personal goals. By November, I wanted to make the Canada West team: I didn’t make it and that was fine, but then I wanted to make the CJHL Top Prospects Game and I made that. If I don’t get Drafted, it’s not the end of the world. I still have 5 more years of hockey, one more of junior and 4 years of college.