Airdrie's twin stars have a healthy competition
Brother and sister redefining success for local athletes
There is one room at the Boychuk family house that seems a lot more crowded than the rest.
It contains two World Junior Hockey Championship gold medals, jerseys and other memorabilia from Zach’s hockey career, as well as a World Championship gold medal, a World Age Group gold medal and many other titles from Corissa’s gymnastics career.
The 21-year-old Airdrie twins have been competitive for as long as they can remember, and although they don’t get to spend as much time together as they used to, they still remain close. And share a permanent spot in their parents’ house.
“There is a little room for everything with my jerseys and my gold medals up in picture frames, and it’s the same with my sister,” Zach said.
“That room is really cool and I’m very proud when I go in there,” Corissa said. “My parents ended up building me a jersey case between Zach’s two World Junior jerseys, because it’s different with gymnastics.”
Zach, who was drafted 14th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2008, credits his success to trying a number of sports as a child, as well as his dad’s interest in hockey.
“He played some college hockey and he got both of us into it by starting us skating when we were two years old,” he said.
“I think I became such a good player because I went to figure skating for about three or four years with my sister. I learned the skating technique fairly early and then started playing organized hockey.”
Corissa, who was named one of Airdrie’s inaugural Elite Athletes in June, is the reigning World Champion in the double mini-trampoline. She also won July’s Canada Cup event held in Airdrie.
“When we were really young, we played mini sticks and he did gymnastics for a bit in junior high, so we’re both really flexible with our sports,” she said. “It was a supportive relationship all the way through. We were very close when we were younger, but when Zach moved to Lethbridge, at age 15, it was tough.”
Corissa was able to see Zach play at the WHL level, but was unable to attend either of his two World Junior gold medal wins, and has yet to make a trip to Carolina, as her busy training scheduled hasn’t offered her the opportunity.
“It’s really tough to miss those things, especially when my whole family is there,” she said. “But we understand each other and know that it’s important for both of us to keep pursuing our goals. And I watch a lot of his games on TV.”
“Ever since we were really young, we’ve been competitive, and being twins, we’ve always been next to each other and pushing each other,” Zach said.
“For her to make it so far, and be that accomplished, is amazing. She is definitely doing well and keeping up with my international competitions – she might be passed me now. She seems to be winning every competition she’s in, so she probably has passed me. It’s a pretty amazing family. It’s pretty cool to be a part of that.”
The twins have a younger sister, Chelsie, 18, who also competes in gymnastics and is looking to share a spot in the shrine room.
“She won her first medal at a big competition at the Canada Cup a few weeks ago, so I’m really proud of her,” Corissa said. “If she can stave off her injuries (a broken ankle and a back problem), I know she’ll keep going farther with the sport.”