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‘Treat me like a normal player on the team,’ says 1st female OHL draft pick

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After making history and becoming the first woman to ever be picked in the Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection draft Saturday, Taya Currie hopes to focus on her game and be treated like any other team member. 

The 16-year-old from Parkhill, Ont., was selected in the 14th round, 267th overall, by the Sarnia Sting. 

“It was honestly just awesome for Sarnia to take this chance on me,” she told CBC News. “It’s just an opportunity to get to meet so many new people. This is a great experience overall.”

Moments after the announcement, fellow goaltender Shannon Szabados, who played for the Western Hockey League in 2003-2004, and Manon Rheaume, the only woman to ever play in the NHL, congratulated Currie on social media. 

“It’s honestly awesome and more than a dream for them to reach out like that,” she said. 

Currie last played for the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs AAA boys’ under-16 team, but didn’t get to play the 2020-21 season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While she’s proud to be the first woman drafted by the OHL, Currie hopes Sarnia Sting fans treat her just like any other player on the team. 

“I don’t want to be the girl that plays with boys hockey. I want to be known as a normal teammate to the boys and just as a family,” she said. “Treat me like a normal player on the team. I don’t want to be different than the boys.” 

Touted as one of Alliance Hockey’s top goaltenders during her time with the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs, Currie said being a goalie felt like a natural fit since she first stepped on the ice. 

“I never liked sitting on the bench and I just love taking hard shots.”

The five-foot-seven goalie said she comes from a very athletic family, with both of her siblings and her father playing hockey. In addition to hockey, Currie played soccer and rugby all while being a competitive barrel racer. 

Currie said she’s looking forward to getting back to work as she prepares for training camp in August.

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