‘Just a num­ber’

Crosby marks 30th birthday dur­ing Stan­ley Cup visit to Hal­i­fax.

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page -

NHL su­per­star Sid­ney Crosby said it’s “just a num­ber,’’ as he turned 30 on Mon­day and bran­dished the Stan­ley Cup in a pa­rade that wound through Hal­i­fax in his na­tive Nova Sco­tia.

Crosby rode on the back of a white pickup truck as mar­shal of the city’s an­nual Na­tal Day pa­rade, wav­ing to thou­sands of fans who lined the streets for a glimpse of “Sid the Kid’’ and the revered cup.

Crosby told re­porters he’d en­joy the cel­e­bra­tions be­fore set­ting his sights on train­ing camp with the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins later this month. The team will be mak­ing a bid for its third straight cham­pi­onship.

“I have a pretty good un­der­stand­ing of how hard two is, so I don’t imag­ine what three must be like. I’d love to find out,’’ Crosby said.

“It’s gonna be tough but we’re go­ing to train­ing camp with that in mind so it’ll be a big chal­lenge but, you know, why not?’’

The three-time Stan­ley Cup champ and fu­ture Hall of Famer said NHL hockey just keeps getting faster, “And I like that.’’

He smiled when asked if, at 30, he has any grey hairs yet.

“Lots,’’ he said to laugh­ter from the room. “Greys and whites.’’

Crosby, who is en­ter­ing his 13th sea­son in the league, said he fully re­al­izes what the mile­stone age sig­ni­fies for an ath­lete.

“It’s amaz­ing how fast time goes by,’’ he said. “It makes you re­al­ize that it doesn’t get any eas­ier and that’s why things like this (pa­rade) _ you have to en­joy it.’’

And while he doesn’t plan to change his ap­proach to play­ing the game yet, Crosby said there are cer­tain re­al­i­ties that have to be con­sid­ered.

“You have to un­der­stand that rest be­comes a lit­tle more im­por­tant.

I’ve al­ways kind of just ad­justed and tried to eval­u­ate things and I’ll do the same.’’

Dressed in a ball cap, shorts and a white Pen­guins 2017 Stan­ley Cup T-shirt, a re­laxed Crosby said hav­ing a few days with the cup never gets old.

Crosby took the cup to Hal­i­fax hos­pi­tals for chil­dren and vet­er­ans on Sun­day, and said he cel­e­brated with it that night with fam­ily and friends at his home in En­field, N.S., out­side of Hal­i­fax. Crosby de­clined to give de­tails, say­ing with a grin re­porters could prob­a­bly “put two and two to­gether.’’

“The best part about it is to see ev­ery­one’s re­ac­tion (to the cup) re­gard­less of whether they are a hockey fan or not,’’ he said.

As Crosby made his way to a truck wait­ing to take him to the pa­rade, he was sur­rounded by a group of young chil­dren from a lo­cal hockey camp. He bent down and showed them the cup.

“Thank you Sid­ney Crosby’’ they chimed with de­light. An­other child yelled out “We love you Sid­ney Crosby.’’

Peo­ple lining the pa­rade route sang Happy Birthday as Crosby passed, be­hind a march­ing band at the front of the pa­rade.

It be­gan in Hal­i­fax’s his­toric north end, and then across a har­bour bridge to Dart­mouth. Crosby rode on the back of a white pick up truck, wav­ing to the crowd with one hand and steady­ing the large silver cup with the other.

The crowd cheered when the march­ing band played a ren­di­tion of Hockey Night in Canada.

Pa­rade-goer Colin Roberts, 12, plays pee­wee hockey and said Crosby is a role model.

“He’s so good but he stays low key. He signs au­to­graphs.’’

Roberts’ nine-year-old brother, Eric, said Crosby is also kind.

“He’s such a good player but he also takes the time to visit old folks’ homes.’’

Sana Re­han said she be­came a Crosby fan af­ter watch­ing him play in the 2010 Win­ter Olympics. “He’s so good, on and off the ice. He’s so hum­ble and such a strong work ethic.’’

Re­han said her fam­ily has bonded over hockey and watch­ing Crosby ever since, and Mon­day was the first time they saw the hockey star _ and the Stan­ley Cup _ in per­son.

“He’s the best player in the world and we all be­came fans af­ter that (Olympic) game.’’

Her 12-year-old brother Ah­mad, who will play ban­tam hockey next year, said Crosby made him want to play hockey.

“He’s got such skill. It makes you want to cheer for him.’’

On Mon­day af­ter­noon, Crosby took the cup to Ri­mouski, Que., where he played as a teenager in the Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League.

AP PHOTO

Pitts­burg Pen­guins captain Sid­ney Crosby pa­rades the Stan­ley Cup in Hal­i­fax on Mon­day. Crosby, the pa­rade grand mar­shal, is a three-time Stan­ley Cup cham­pion and was cel­e­brat­ing his 30th birthday.

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