Crosby to celebrate in hometown

Updated: August 6, 2009, 5:16 PM ET
Associated Press

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby plans to celebrate his 22nd birthday on Friday by bringing the Stanley Cup home.

Crosby will start the day by landing in a helicopter at the Halifax Dockyard, where he'll speak to members of the Canadian military and their families. He'll then lead a parade through Cole Harbour, where thousands of people are expected to greet the hockey star.

"He wants to share it with the young and people of all ages and make it a community event," said Paul Mason, who coached Crosby as a youth. "We're thrilled about that. The hockey community is very proud of him."

Fans will have the opportunity to pose with the Stanley Cup, ask Crosby questions and visit a Hall of Fame dedicated to "Sid the Kid," where they can view photos, trophies, hockey sweaters and sticks from his career.

Crosby has been a hometown hero since playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League as a teen. The Metro Centre in Halifax was packed whenever his team, the Rimouski Oceanic, played the Halifax Mooseheads from 2003-05.

Even before that, as a young player in the Cole Harbour Minor Hockey Association, Mason said Crosby stood out among all the players he's coached in 31 years.

"He was exceptional. He had an ability to see the ice and he was very tenacious," Mason said. "He made, as he does now, everyone on the ice better in the way he moves the puck, his ability to control the play. He was a very coachable young fellow."

After attending Shattuck St. Mary's, a Minnesota boarding school known for its hockey program, Crosby returned to play junior hockey in Canada and led the Oceanic to a Memorial Cup final in 2005.

After turning down a $7.5 million contract with the World Hockey Association in 2004, Crosby was drafted by the Penguins in the first round in 2005.

He held his own, too, finishing sixth in the league in scoring his rookie season and becoming the youngest player to score 100 points in a season.

Crosby led the NHL in scoring the next year, winning the Art Ross Trophy, and was the league's most valuable player. After battling injuries and quelling critics who said he lacked maturity, Crosby led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup finals in his third season in the league.

Pittsburgh lost to the Detroit Red Wings in six games. The Penguins made a return trip to the Cup finals this season, beating the Red Wings in seven games and making Crosby the youngest captain to ever hoist the Stanley Cup.

His birthday celebration on Aug. 7 has particular significance for Crosby's career. He wears No. 87 in honor of his birthday -- in the eighth month, on the seventh day -- and the six-year contract he signed with the Penguins in 2007 pays him $8.7 million per year.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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