Sidney Crosby





Professional hockey player

Born August 7, 1987, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; son of Troy (a law firm facilities manager) and Trina (Forbes) Crosby.

Addresses: Contact —Pittsburgh Penguins, One Chatham Center, Ste. 400, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3516. Home —Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada. Management —International Management Group, Pat Brisson, 520 Broadway Ste. 660, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Website —http://www.crosby87.com.

Career

Began playing professional hockey after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins as the first pick in the National Hockey League draft, 2005.

Awards: Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year, 2003-04; Canadian Hockey League scoring title, 2003-04; Canadian Hockey League Rookie of the Year, 2003-04; silver medal, Team Canada, World Junior Championships, Helsinki, Finland, 2004; Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year, 2004-05; Canadian Hockey League scoring title, 2004-05; gold medal, Team Canada, World Junior Championships, Grand Forks, ND, 2005.

Sidelights

Sidney Crosby picked up his first hockey stick as a toddler and began playing organized hockey at the age of five. By the time he entered his teens, Crosby was drawing comparisons to hockey great

Wayne Gretzky for his ability to make the puck dance. In July of 2005, the Pittsburgh Penguins chose Crosby as the No. 1 pick in the National Hockey League (NHL) draft, generating a buzz in the hockey world. The NHL, which had missed its entire 2004-05 season due to a labor dispute, hoped Crosby's presence would infuse some excitement and help revive its disheartened fan base. "We're always looking for guys to be the cornerstones, and he's a guy that has all that potential, " Gretzky noted during an interview, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "He's obviously the future of the National Hockey League." While Gretzky was known as "The Great One, " Crosby has been dubbed "The Next One."

Crosby was born on August 7, 1987, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, to Troy and Trina Crosby, though he grew up in the fishing village of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, alongside a younger sister. He wears jersey No. 87 in honor of his birth year. Crosby began skating as a preschooler, pushed along by his hockey-crazed father who had been a goalie in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and, though drafted by the Montreal Canadiens, never signed. At three and a half, Crosby spent many afternoons skating at the nearby Halifax Forum. At the end of each session, the attendants tossed out plastic sticks and balls for the kids to play with. Even though Crosby was so young, he knew just what to do. "He seemed to know instinctively how to hold a stick, and he could keep the ball away from the other kids, " his father recalled in an interview with Charlie Gillis of Maclean's.

As a youngster Crosby practiced his skills on a 22-by-15-foot roller-blade rink his father designed in the basement. Whenever Crosby's shots missed the net, the puck smacked the dryer, which over the years lost its knobs and buttons and became speckled with dents. "It was nothing to go down there in the morning and have a puck still stuck in the door, " Trina Crosby told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 's Robert Dvorchak. The Crosby basement became the neighborhood hangout. "On a rainy day, everybody came over, " Trina Crosby recalled. "There was room enough for a goaltender and one-on-one with roller blades."

Crosby began playing organized hockey at the age of five. Speaking to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 's Chuck Finder, Crosby's former coach, Paul Gallagher, recalled his awe at his first sight of Crosby. "When he first stepped on the ice … I thought he might have registered in the wrong group because of his ability to skate. Even at age five. Tremendous skater. Hands above the other guys." Within a year, Crosby was playing kids two to three years older. He gave his first hockey interview at age seven, to a reporter from the Halifax Daily News. When Crosby was 14, he pounded in 106 goals and had 111 assists in 81 games playing 17- and 18-year-olds in a Nova Scotia league. That same year, he appeared on the CBC sports show Hockey Day in Canada. At 15 Crosby signed with an agent and by 17 he had multimillion-dollar deals with Gatorade and Reebok.

Crosby spent his sophomore year of high school playing for Shattuck-St. Mary's, a Faribault, Minnesota-based prep school where hockey rules. While there, from 2002-03, Crosby scored 72 goals in 57 games. Teammates from the boarding school remembered Crosby as a devoted athlete. When they were out horsing around and having fun, Crosby was in the gym strengthening his quadriceps, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles. At practice, he was the first on the ice and the last off.

Next, Crosby played for Rimouski Oceanic in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, one of the top junior leagues in North America. The team was coming off a season with an 11-58-3 record and a dwindling fan base when Crosby entered the picture and pulled the team to the top of its division for the 2003-04 season. During two seasons with the Oceanic, Crosby had 120 goals and 183 assists in 121 regular-season games. These stats stack up nicely against some of hockey's greats. Hockey legend Mario Lemieux averaged 2.8 points per game over three seasons during the 1980s while playing in the Quebec juniors. Crosby was just behind, averaging 2.5 points per game. In addition, Gretzky played one season in the juniors, in 1977-78, scoring 70 goals and 112 assists in 64 games for a point average of 2.8 per game.

It was not surprising when the Pittsburgh Penguins scooped up the 5-foot-11-inch, 193-pound Crosby with the first pick of the 2005 NHL draft. Because of rookie rules, his salary was capped at $850, 000 that first season. Crosby, barely 18 years old, played his first professional game in October of 2005. When he skated onto the ice, the opposing team's fans heckled him with shouts of "overrated." Crosby had an assist that game, earning his first NHL point, though the Penguins lost. Fans and teammates were pleased with his progress that first season. When the NHL began its 2006 Olympic break in mid-February, Crosby stood in second place in rookie scoring, behind the Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin. At the time, Crosby had a point total of 65, from 28 goals and 37 assists. Ovechkin had 69 points on 36 goals and 33 assists. In a game against the New York Islanders on April 17, 2006, Crosby set up two goals to became the youngest player in NHL history to score 100 points in a season. With those goals, he also tied Lemiux's team record for most points in a season by a rookie. Plus, he joined Dale Hawerchuk as the only 18 year olds in league history to get 100 points in a season.

Despite his success and the constant praise, Crosby will not rest on his laurels. Speaking to Sports Illustrated' s Michael Farber, Crosby said that he was concentrating on the moment and trying not to get caught up in all the hype. "I realize a lot of guys have been tagged with that 'next great player' thing. Some have gone on to be great players, some have fallen. I don't want to be one of the guys who disappears. I remind myself of that every day."

Sources

Periodicals

Maclean's , May 9, 2005, p. 34.

New York Times , October 6, 2005, p. 6.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , July 31, 2005, p. A1; October 6, 2005, p. A1.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review , May 27, 2005.

Sports Illustrated , November 10, 2003, p. 54.

Online

"Players: Sidney Crosby, " Pittsburgh Penguins, http://www.pittsburghpenguins.com/team/bio. php?id=151 (February 2, 2006).

"The Rookie, " Globe and Mail (Toronto), http:// www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050914.wcrosby14/BNStory Spo rts, Front/home (February 22, 2006).

Sidney Crosby Website, http://www.crosby87.com/ web/guest/bio (February 5, 2006).

"Young gun, " SI.com , http://sportsillustrated.cnn. com/2006/hockey/nhl/04/17/bc.hkn.crosby. 100points.ap /index.html (April 20, 2006).

Lisa Frick



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