They’re called Crispy by their Princeton Posse teammates and coach Mark McNaughton.
Yet, twins Kyle (No. 20) and Trent Crisp (No.25), grandsons of Stanley Cup champion (Calgary) coach Terry Crisp, are something else for the Posse. Freewheeling is a word McNaughton used.
“They really buzz around,” says McNaughton. ”They are guys who really like to keep their feet moving a lot. Probably even more than I would like them to.”
It’s only an issue when the coach wants them in a structured position.
“They are little buzz bombs for us,” adds McNaughton. “They have a lot of intensity in their game. They are competitive kids. I really do think they would do anything to win. Whatever it takes.”
In their rookie Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) season, the 18-year-olds posted nearly identical numbers – Kyle had five goals and 23 points in 47 games, while Trent had nine goals and 22 points in 45 games.
In a four-game sweep of the Summerland Steam, Trent had two goals and three points, while Kyle had an assist. They head into the second round and will face the Kelowna Chiefs starting March 9. In six games, the Posse lost four, including one in overtime and won two. That series will begin in Kelowna at Rutland Arena.
The Crisps have loved their first season of junior hockey and the way they are treated by the Posse organization. Kyle and Trent say the coaching staff has been great in helping them develop.
“I have for sure grown my whole game,” says Trent. “My speed got better, my shot, just how I play the game, too. It’s a pretty big leap from midget to junior.”
Kyle and Trent have spent parts of the season on the same line. Kyle admits they can get on each others nerves, but “at the end of the day we’re brothers. We will go to war for each other no matter what.”
The competitiveness between them pushes them to be better, but at times also gives McNaughton reason to separate them. When those moments happen, McNaughton pulls them aside separately and has a chat with each one. There is a lot of internal competition between them, which is mostly good.
“I think the nice thing for the two of them is they are pretty competitive as a pair,” says McNaughton, following their Game 3 win over Summerland. “If one scores, the other is going to score. If one gets a point, the other one wants to get a point. Same thing in practice. If one is on the third line today and one is on the fourth line, the one on the fourth line is just pissed right off that he is not on the third line.”
McNaughton says both have been a real pleasure to coach. They have also been great for the chemistry of the team. He recruited them through another general manager in the KIJHL. Last season they played for the Calgary Royals midget AA program. Kyle led the team in scoring with 12 goals and 24 points in 21 games, while Trent was right behind with five goals and 20 points in 21 games. A peer of McNaughton’s knew what the Posse coach was looking for and reached out.
While the Crisps have learned a lot from McNaughton and his staff, they also get helpful pointers from their grandfather.
“My coach comes first,” says Trent. “He more just gives us pointers. Shoot low sometimes. More pointers individually, rather than team stuff.”
Terry is able to give them personal insight as he has watched the majority of their games, including playoffs. The Crisps are very close to their grandfather and Kyle says he calls after each game with pointers.
“It’s mostly good job and keep going,” says Kyle.
Terry lives in Nashville and works for the Predators broadcast team as a TV analyst. The twins see their grandfather roughly six times a year with another visit coming soon – in mid-March when he has a five-day break. Trent is confident it will be during the Posse’s playoff push.
Kyle and Trent and have many hockey talks with their grandfather, stories about his Stanley Cup-winning run with the Flames, but many about junior hockey. He encourages them to enjoy being at the rink and have fun with their friends.
“He is just a big fan of hockey in general. He can talk your ear off for days and days,” says Kyle.
Because their grandfather works with the Predators, it’s the families favourite team. They have the gold jerseys, toques – it’s gold everything.
A highlight of the twins’ season has been winning.
“We know we have a team to make a run for it,” says Trent.
“The best part has been winning – we’re a big dog team this year,” says Kyle. “Winning is always great, especially with this group of guys in the room. I’d go to war for anyone.”