Taya Currie, a 16-year-old goalie, became the first female player to be chosen in the Ontario Hockey League draft when Sarnia selected her in the 14th round (No. 267) on Saturday.
The 5-foot-7 goalie has been playing AAA boys hockey for the Elgin-Middlesex minor hockey organization for the past seven seasons.
“I love competing with the boys because of the competitive side of it,” Currie told CTV News in a story published Tuesday. “I’m athletic and I like the style of their game compared to the girls. They have harder shots and I just enjoy it all.”
Sarnia general manager Dylan Seca told CTV News before the draft that Currie was being considered for more than just the chance to create publicity.
“It was the athletic ability, great hands and the way she challenges the puck that drew us to her game,” he said. ” … I think the intriguing part of breaking barriers in this league is there, but honestly it’s the quality of the player.”
Currie will have the chance to become the first woman to play in the Ontario Hockey League next season. She also could switch to girls hockey and play on a AA team with her older sister, Tristan, and progress toward playing college hockey. Playing in the OHL would make her ineligible to play for an NCAA team.
Currie said the strengths of her game are her determination and quick reflexes.
“I want to be the goalie everyone hates to play against but loves to have on the team,” she said.
One of the goalies Curry said she patterns her game after is Shannon Szabados, a two-time Olympic gold medalist with Canada who became the first woman to play in the Western Hockey League in 2002-03.
“Congrats Taya! Watching this live,” Szabados posted on Twitter. “Can’t wait to watch you on the world stage one day.”
OHL Director of Central Scouting Darrell Woodley said Currie’s athleticism made her one of the top goalies he saw this season.
“Taya Currie is a very athletic goaltender,” he said. “Not the biggest goalie in the world but she makes up for it in her athleticism and quickness. She does a great job of taking away the bottom of the net with her butterfly style. She’s athletic, she’s known to be a good rugby player and a good soccer player and even a barrel racer. Those things prove how athletic she is. She challenges well, she moves well in her net. She’s been playing with the boys at AAA since minor atom so she’s been there for seven years so she’s well accustomed to the speed of the game. She has no trouble keeping up or fitting in.”