BE­ING THERE

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - STEVE MIL­TON smil­ton@thespec.com 905-526-3268 | @mil­to­natthes­pec

Sid­ney Crosby was out of the last game — and who can pre­dict how many more — with yet an­other con­cus­sion. This one stems from a se­ries of ques­tion­able Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals’ hits which has cleaved the hockey world and made twit­ter-verse chat­ter even uglier than usual. Not every­body in this coun­try likes Crosby, es­pe­cially in the play­offs, but when he is wear­ing the red maple leaf, we all love him as if he were some hy­brid of Jean Be­liv­eau, Gord Downie and a quart of maple syrup. Which brings us around to his Golden Goal. No need for much in­tro­duc­tion here: “Iggy, Iggy, Iggy,” Crosby yells to Jarome Iginla, who hears him clearly, gets him the puck from the boards and sud­denly Canada has its most mem­o­rable over­time goal, and a record 14th gold medal in one Win­ter Olympics, 7:40 into over­time. I was sit­ting with Post Me­dia hockey writer Mike Traikos high up in Van­cou­ver’s Canada Hockey Place stands, and we saw the whole play de­vel­op­ing be­cause it was di­rectly across from us. “Are you (ex­ple­tive deleted) kid­ding me,” I said in­ad­ver­tently as we both sensed that Crosby was about to get the puck and go in alone on U.S. goalie Ryan Miller. Two years later in Lon­don I asked pre­cisely the same rhetor­i­cal ques­tion, word for word and again in­ad­ver­tently, when I could see the ball was about to come free to Canada’s Diana Mathe­son and knew she could tap it home for the bronze medal that felt like gold. I was sit­ting in much lower seats at the soccer game than at the hockey game but had roughly the same an­gle. The déjà vu was, frankly, a tri­fle freaky. Crosby’s goal which, to me, ranks just be­hind “Henderson has scored for Canada,” and “Gret­zky to Lemieux,” was the only way hockey could come out of the 2010 Olympics as the lead mem­ory. Canada had done so un­ex­pect­edly well across the Olympic board that only the best player in the world, scor­ing in over­time, in the very last sec­ond of com­pe­ti­tion of the en­tire Games to give Canada the goldmedal record, could have el­e­vated hockey even slightly above the other sports. By that logic, then, Zach Parise’s goal for the Amer­i­cans, with 25 sec­onds left in reg­u­la­tion time to tie the score at 2-2 was a cru­cial en­abler for our ex­pand­ing sports mythol­ogy. And here’s some­thing that for­ever con­nects the ty­ing goal and the win­ner, by op­pos­ing teams, that I didn’t dis­cover un­til a year later when I was work­ing on “The Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Jer­seys.” Parise and Crosby both went to Shat­tuck-St. Mary’s prep school in Farib­ault, Min­nesota to pre­pare them­selves for their NHL paths, Crosby’s through ma­jor ju­nior, Parise’s through the U.S. col­lege sys­tem. Be­cause of peo­ple like Parise’s late fa­ther, J.P. Parise, who coached there, Shat­tuck-St. Mary’s treated the No. 9 the way it was treated in the 1940s-60s NHL: it was spe­cial and revered, and you had to earn it to wear it. Jonathan Toews, who also scored in the 2010 gold medal game, wore No. 9 at the school and so did Parise, then Crosby. But what was dif­fer­ent about Parise and Crosby was that not only did they wear the same num­ber at the school, they wore the very same sweater: Parise had it in 200001 and 2001-02; then it was passed to 15-year-old Crosby for 2002-03. Shat­tuck-St. Mary’s coach Tom Ward was sit­ting in his liv­ing room, watch­ing the 2010 gold medal game, the most heav­ily-viewed hockey event in his­tory, “and hop­ing one of our guys would score,” he told me. “Then they score the goal that puts it into over­time and the goal that wins it. And they hap­pen to be the guys who wore ex­actly the same jersey here.” One of them scored the goal which tem­po­rar­ily broke Cana­dian hearts from sea to sea to sea, but proved to be nec­es­sary to give Cana­di­ans the un­par­al­leled ela­tion of their team win­ning the gold medal on a goal scored by the other in over­time. With­out the first, there could not have been the sec­ond. It all fit to­gether, and it says here that although he wears No. 87, Crosby is at heart a 9, the all-time Cana­dian hockey num­ber, the defin­ing num­ber of the Orig­i­nal Six. Vet­eran Spec­ta­tor colum­nist Steve Mil­ton has pretty much seen it all in his 40 years cov­er­ing sports around the world and, in Be­ing There, he will re­live spe­cial mo­ments of those sto­ries, from the in­side out, ev­ery Fri­day. If there’s a mem­o­rable sport­ing event you want Steve to write about, let him know at smil­ton@thespec.com. Chances are he was there.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF FIREFLY BOOKS LTD.

Sid­ney Crosby, then 15, wear­ing the No. 9 of Shat­tuck-St. Mary’s School in Farib­ault, Min­nesota dur­ing the 2002-03 sea­son, his only one at the prep school.

RYAN REMIORZ, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Canada’s Sid­ney Crosby cel­e­brates his over­time goal against USA’s Ryan Miller that won the gold medal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.