Quest for sixth Herder
Veteran Chris Crosbie may have slowed, but his passion for hockey is as strong as ever
A casual observer of the senior leagues might expect veteran CeeBee Stars forward Chris Crosbie to have had his fill of hockey. Afterall, he has won five Herder titles as a member of teams in Corner Brook, Flatrock, and Conception Bay North. Along with his wife Danita, the Bay Roberts native also has three children to look after — Hayley, Amy, and Nicholas.
But after taking time off from hockey last season, No. 11 for the CeeBees knew he had to come back.
“I love senior hockey and when I sat out a year, I had to go back one more time,” says Crosbie. “It’s in my blood.”
And so he goes, continuing to play a hard-skating, gritty brand of hockey that looks to create scoring chances for his gifted linemates. Through most of the second half of this season, Crosbie has played on a line with top scorers Ray Dalton and Keith Delaney.
“ So many people say you’re too old and slow,” he says. “Sure I’m slower, but I am also a lot smarter than I was when I was younger.”
His line with Dalton and Delaney has been one of the team’s best as of late, and much of that can be attributed to how Crosbie’s style of play complements the outstanding puckcontrol skills of his linemates. He also tries to help out defensively to freeup Dalton and Delaney.
“Listen, the two of these players are the fastest I ever played with. Most of the time I find myself trailing the play, in which case I look after defence while they go mad.”
He may have a reputation for being a talker, having served as team captain from 2006-2008, but Crosbie says he defers to the younger players when it comes to leadership in the dressing room.
“ This team is a well-knit bunch,” he says. “ They all talk and act the same way, like family. In past years, this has always been an important factor, and with all the skills this team has, it’s going to make us really hard to beat.”
However, his veteran presence will likely come in handy during the CeeBee Star’s best-of-seven series against the Mount Pearl Blades for the east league title. He proved his worth in Game 1 of the series, scoring the CeeBees’ lone goal in a 3-1 loss.
The series is scheduled to resume on March 11 with Game 4 at the Glacier in Mount Pearl. Game 5 (if necessary) takes place the following night in Harbour Grace. The winner of the series will go on to face the best from the west in the quest for the Herder Memorial Trophy.
The Blades, like the CeeBees, have a talent-laden lineup, and also benefit from the presence of veteran coach Randy Pearcey. He’s a familiar face to most CeeBee fans, having coached the Clarenville Caribous to victories in the last two Herder Memorial Championship series.
Crosbie expects checking will be a key component to beating the Blades.
“ We have to get pucks deep and hit their defence hard, with our defence stepping up and hitting their forwards to slow them down.”
Of course, Crosbie knows a thing or two about what it takes to win the Herder trophy, having won it five times. His favourite win remains his first with the CeeBees in 2006 — the CeeBees’ first Herder win in 39 years.
“ Definitely, my first herder win with the Ceebees when I was captain accepting the Herder,” he says, pinpointing the one that means the most to him. “ That was my cup!”
In his role as a checking-forward amongst scorers, Crosbie knows how to play against opposing teams. His effectiveness at executing has at times attracted extra attention from opponents, indicating Crosbie has the ability to get under their skin.
“People seem to think that, and basically I don’t care. I play a hardchecking game, which includes contact, which a lot of opposing teams don’t like.”
Having played 17 years of senior hockey, dating back to his time with the Bay Roberts Mariners of the old CBN Intermediate League, Crosbie has dealt with plenty of scrapes and bruises. Though he does not explicitly say he won’t be back next year, his choice of words seems to indicate this might be the last run for Crosbie.
“If I can make it through this year, I’ll be happy.” — 37 — left wing — five feet, nine inches — 194 pounds
— Montreal • • • • • Canadiens • — Joe Sakic • — Ray Dalton and Keith Delaney • — father Harold Crosbie • the west coast (for snowmobiling) • traditional Irish bands • — X-Men Origins: Wolverine • Half Men • partridge hunting • Sunday dinner • Sledworthy Magazone (when brother Scott writes for it)
— Two and a