Community April 03, 2014
Taylor Nelson (Sports)
This little 4-foot-nothing hockey prodigy stands tall with a huge smile, usually encircled by her entourage of younger sisters. Nicknamed the “Dark Knight,” after Sun Valley local Hilary Knight who recently made the 2014 US Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, Taylor has been making her mark with the Sun Valley SUNS Squirts thanks to a great attitude and hard work. To pay the $600 annual team fee, Taylor has been selling eggs from her family’s pet chickens to friends and neighbors. Watch for Taylor on the ice—and watch out Jackson Hole Moose, she’s coming for you! 
How long have you been playing hockey?
I’ve been skating for two years with the Blaine County Recreation District (BCRD) at Hailey Ice, but this was my first year with the Sun Valley Youth Hockey (SVYH).
How did you get into it?  
My older cousin Andrew, age 12, plays for SVYH and I thought it seemed like fun.
What are the keys to being good at hockey?  
You gotta try your best, give 100% all the time. For skating, you need really strong legs.
Who are your biggest influences? 
My cousin Andrew and my teammates. 
What are your greatest achievements so far?
I made the travelling A-team so that I could go to Jackson Hole and I almost scored a goal! 
Who is your hero?
Probably my dad. He teaches me everything—he taught me how to play softball and he teaches me a lot of school stuff because he’s a 5th grade teacher. Also, he is awesome! 
What do you love about hockey?
It’s really fun. If you’re a rough person, you get to slam people into boards.
Are you the best player on the team?  
I’m working towards it, she said with a laugh.
Why is the Wood River Valley a good place for hockey players?
We have really great coaches: Pete Whitehead and Wendy Speth. Fester and Vilnis, too, and Dawn, my skating coach. They don’t yell at you like other hockey coaches. 
Any tips for people new to your sport?
 That’s difficult because I am new to the sport. I guess, skate hard and do your best. That’s what my first coach, Bege Reynolds, told me.
Who is your favorite hockey player? 
Jack O’Callahan (from the 1980 US Olympic Team) and the “Miracle” team. 
What’s your favorite flavor ice cream?
I like everything. 
What’s your favorite “kids” meal?
Do you participate in any other sports?
Softball, soccer, basketball, skiing, snowboarding sometimes, biking, hiking, fishing and hunting. I guess that’s it.
Favorite movie? 
I like sporty movies like “A League of Their Own,” “Miracle” and the “Karate Kid.”
Favorite book?
“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. I’m reading it right now.
Favorite musician?
Taylor Swift and Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. I like to watch “The Voice”—it’s one of my favorite TV shows.
Place you’d most like to visit?
Tahiti. My dad and I watched something about it on TV.
Where do you practice and play?
At the Sun Valley indoor arena. We have games in Jackson Hole, Boise and Salmon, and an all girls tournament in McCall.