Sidney Crosby talks bringing Stanley Cup to Halifax, concussions, hockey school
Sidney Crosby is planning to bring the Stanley Cup to his hometown once again, but the exact date is still being negotiated.
Crosby said he’s receiving the Cup Aug. 6 and 7 during a news conference he held at Cole Harbour Place on Wednesday.
He said the Natal Day parade on Aug. 7 — his 30th birthday — is one possible date being considered by the three-time champion.
“We’ve kind of thrown that idea around. I just want to get as many people as possible to see it,” Crosby said.
Third year for hockey school
The Pittsburgh Penguins captain was in Cole Harbour Wednesday for his hockey school, which has been held annually since 2015.
Each year, 160 kids are brought from across Canada, the U.S. and the world to learn from Sid the Kid. This year, skaters and goalies from North America, Europe, Asia and Israel were brought to the ice rink. The participants are aged nine to 12.
Students at the school take part in on-ice skill sessions, off-ice activities and attend guest presentations.
WATCH: The man widely regarded as hockey’s top player has returned to his Nova Scotia hometown. But rather than bask in his ever-growing legend, Sidney Crosby is spending time with a large group of youngsters, who idolize him. Ross Lord reports.
“Every year, to see where the kids come from and to hear their story and how they got here, I don’t think that ever gets old,” Crosby said.
“It’s the camp but also kind of the whole experience itself.”
He also thanked the school’s volunteers for their work.
Several of the kids who spoke with Global News said the experience to learn from Crosby is “amazing.”
“He’s the best player in the world right now. It just feels really good. I’m really lucky to be here,” said Drew Lutz of New Minas, N.S.
“Very special and I love how he sees the game so well and he’s … so aware on the ice, it’s really cool,” said Josh Smith of North Carolina.
“It’s just amazing that he comes back to show kids what it’s like to just be a normal person and help other kids,” said Sophie Storey of Porters Lake, N.S.
Recovery from repeated concussions
On Wednesday, Crosby was also asked about his ability to recover from repeated concussions.
During the 2017 playoffs, the Pittsburgh star was diagnosed in May with a concussion prior to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against Washington. He has also suffered other concussions in his career, including in the 2011 Winter Classic which required nearly two years to fully recover.
He said each incident has helped him learn how to respond.
“As players, we’ve become more educated and you have to listen to your body at the end of the day,” he said.
When Crosby went back on the ice after only a one-game absence, concussion experts and a former player questioned whether he should retire.
But the Stanley Cup MVP said he wasn’t aware of those questions, instead focusing more on the game itself — the Penguins went on to win against the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the final.
“I don’t really read or listen to any of that stuff, to be honest during the playoffs,” Crosby said.
“Depending on the case or severity, there are ways for you to get better and recover. You just have to be smart with it.”
He says more tests and ways of diagnosing concussions than before has helped increase recovery times.
Advice for local players
Crosby also offered advice to local players, including Halifax Mooseheads defenceman Jason McIssac who is entering the draft.
“The best advice I could give is try and enjoy it, junior hockey is some of the best times of your life,” he said.
He said he’s proud to see local players succeed, saying he looked up to different players like Al MacInnis and Glen Murray when he grew up, and saw them as inspiration for himself.
“You think, ‘Hey if this guy made it from here I can do the same thing’.”
Two more days remain in Crosby’s hockey school, an initiative of the Sidney Crosby Foundation which helps charities that improve the lives of disadvantaged children.
—With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.