October 2, 2017
by Jason Gilder
The early stages of the new season have been kind to Nanaimo Clippers forward Tristan Crozier, but finally hitting the ice with his younger brother has meant the most.
In his second season with the Clippers, the native of North Vancouver, B.C. has been impressive notching four goals and five assists in eight games played. Although his performance has been strong, the addition of his younger brother Maxwell Crozier to the team has given Tristan an opportunity to skate alongside his brother for the first time ever, something the elder Crozier had envisioned for a long time.
“It’s one of those things you grow up dreaming about and it’s very surreal,” said Crozier. “To have him with me and to have us go through the same journey together, it’s great.”
Tristan points to Maxwell’s solid breakout passing and smart playmaking as highlights of his start to the season.
With an average of 1.13 points-per-game so far, Tristan acknowledges that being a veteran has helped him succeed from the outset. However, Tristan attributes majority of his early season success to the small size of Nanaimo’s training camp, as the limited number of personnel equalled more time for Crozier and company to familiarize themselves with their linemates.
“I think we began with 25 or 26 skaters into early August,” said Crozier. “We were gelling with our lines right away and I think it’s paid off so far.”
After finishing the 2016-17 campaign as Nanaimo’s third-highest scorer, the 5-foot-11 forward is expected to be a leading force for the Clippers offense this year. With Nanaimo’s top-two scorers from a season ago—Ben Solin and Matt Creamer—departing in the offseason for NCAA hockey, Crozier has welcomed the additional responsibility of leading the Clippers attack.
“I enjoy the pressure,” said Crozier. “It’s nice knowing that the coaches can be counting on me to find the back of the net and definitely make some key plays at key times.”
Last season, Crozier tallied 10 goals and 19 assists in 53 games played in his first campaign with the Clippers. Totalling just 23 wins in 58 games a season ago, the Clippers will look to improve on their fourth place finish in the Island Division last year. Crozier is optimistic about the team’s potential going forward because of an upbeat environment that has swept through the Clippers locker room.
“I just think the overall atmosphere of the team is different,” said Crozier. “I think we’re getting back to the winning culture that Nanaimo was in years past before last year, and we’re hoping to ride out on morale and keep it going.”
Another reason for Crozier’s positive outlook on the season is the new crop of young players added to the roster over the summer. The 185-pound forward has been impressed with the efforts of Nanaimo’s young core thus far, but expects them to fully adapt just before the halfway point of the campaign.
“After about 20 games, you need to be accustomed to the speed of things,” said Crozier. “You should be settled in and used to the whole environment of junior hockey.”