Sidney Crosby brought the Stanley
Cup back to Cole Harbour this summer. If my social media feeds mean anything, pretty much everyone in the world covered the event. For days I saw photos and footage of Sid and the Cup, and the parade.
I think the estimates for the parade crowd were somewhere around 46,000 people, almost double the population, and all 92,000 eyes were glued to the hometown hero.
He publicly praised his community and paid homage to everyone who’s helped him get where he is today.
But this isn’t a show for the cameras. He privately gives back to his community in many ways and there’s something else he did that week BEFORE the world was watching.
For the past couple of summers, Sid came home and put on a hockey school at Cole Harbour Place, the very rink in which he (and I, 8 years earlier) started hockey. It raises money for his Sidney Crosby Foundation.
After everything he’s accomplished and with an unimaginable possibility of more to come, he returns to his roots not just to share victories but to help those who’s life journeys are only beginning.
As Pens fans can attest, he’s generally pretty busy in the month or two leading up to it so he’s definitely not the only one organizing the school. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Someone involved with the school is my long time Cole Harbour Red Wings minor hockey team mate, Ottawa 67’s standout goaltender, and former Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick Craig Hillier. I had the opportunity to catch up with him, and he talked a little bit about Sidney Crosby Hockey School.
“This was my second year in a row helping out Sid and Paul Mason with the hockey school”, Hillier said.
“I feel very fortunate to run the goalie on ice training for the school. I enjoy every minute of the camp from helping out with goalies, players, and enjoying the conversation in the dressing room with the great staff Paul assembles.”
Some of you may remember Paul Mason as the man who initiated the effort to rename Forest Hills Parkway after Sidney Crosby. Of Crosby himself, Hillier confirms everything we like to think about him with his first hand account.
“The most amazing thing about the camp is getting to talk hockey with Sid about the Pens and everything going on in the NHL. Sid makes every staff member feel a part of it from the runners to the on ice staff.”
Of course, 2016 was a little bit different. There’s some great shots of Sid around Dartmouth and Halifax with the Cup, at hospitals and landmarks, and of course at the local Tim Horton’s. But there’s not many better pictures than this one:
“Sid snuck the Cup into the rink Friday morning and surprised the kids with it. It was without a doubt the best moment I’ve witnessed at a hockey school.”
The building was electric and the kids had a once in a lifetime experience.”
After spending a special night with the Stanley Cup, Craig and his family spent the next day like everyone else.
“My wife and the kids and I walked down to the parade and enjoyed the crowd and Sid letting everyone know how much he appreciated the Cole Harbour community’s support.”
Sid really makes everyone around him feel like they were also part of that special victory in San Jose. Hillier closed with something we’re all thinking:
“I hope this won’t be the last time we get to enjoy Sid winning the Cup, and I truly believe it won’t be!”