The city of Pittsburgh has a rich sports history. Lately though, various athletes have not been the kind of human being that Pittsburgh expects. But for Pittsburgh Penguins fans, Sidney Crosby is the ultimate sports star. Not only is he arguably the best player in the NHL and a future Hall-of-Famer, Crosby is a better person off the ice than he is on the ice.
Stanley Cup Visits
Crosby has won the Stanley Cup three times in his NHL career along with numerous other trophies. Every player on the Stanley Cup-winning team gets one day with the Cup. Crosby has always taken the trophy back to his home in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada. Most recently in 2017, he went to a local children’s hospital in Halifax, NS.
Players do a lot of different things with the Cup when it is their turn to have it for the day. If I got that opportunity, I don’t know what I would do. But Crosby consistently wants to give back whenever he can. The previous year in 2016, he went to a veterans hospital after already stopping by the children’s hospital.
When he found out that a blind, bedridden Korean War veteran wasn’t able to join the group to see the cup, Crosby went to his room to show it to the man. The man explained that he was a Canadiens fan and his favorite player was Maurice “Rocket” Richard. Crosby then found his name and traced it with the veterans finger. Something simple like that just shows the heart Crosby has for others and wanting everyone to embrace the game in a variety of ways.
Sidney Crosby Foundation and Little Penguins Learn to Play Hockey
In 2009, Crosby and the Penguins started The Sidney Crosby Foundation. Their mission is to actively promote physical well being, encourage teamwork, stress the value of education and provide essential life skills to young people in our community through youth hockey and other activities. A big program that Crosby participates in annually is the Learn to Play Hockey Program. Since 2008, almost 13,000 kids have been given free head-to-toe hockey equipment and instructions on how to play and learn the game of hockey.
100 lucky kids found a golden ticket in their new gear and had the opportunity to skate around with Sidney Crosby and other Penguins players.
“I love the game and if there’s an opportunity to help kids enjoy the game and get something out of it and kind of help them have that opportunity, then that’s something I wanted to be a part of,” Crosby said. “So I was lucky the team wanted to get involved and various sponsors and things like that to make it happen. It’s grown a lot and it’s nice to see.”– Sidney Crosby
Growing the youth game is important to Crosby and this is just one way he makes fans for life and promotes the game of hockey at the youth level. This has drastically elevated the youth hockey game in Pittsburgh and the surrounding cities.
Furthering the Game in Canada
Across various international competitions, Crosby has won six medals representing his home country Canada, five of them gold. It is important for him to do what he can to further the game. He donated his entire earning from the 2015 IIHF World Championship to the Cole Harbour Hockey Association. He also made two $50,000 donations to the 2018 Canadian Special Olympics as well as the KidSport Nova Scotia to get kids off the sideline and into the game of hockey.
Crosby Is a Role Model
If you go to a Penguins game, home or away, there will be tons of Sidney Crosby jerseys in the crowd. This is normal for any star on a Pittsburgh sports team. But in 2019, the big stars from the last few years aren’t in Pittsburgh anymore for a variety of reasons. Off-field issues have seen players leave the town, or the team decide to move on from that distraction. Crosby, though, has been a steady role model for the city.
In 2019, when public scrutiny is so prevalent, it is refreshing to see a worldwide star in the sport of hockey be such a good person off the ice. Social media has ruined stars’ reputations, but Crosby continues to be a positive person and have heartwarming stories posted year after year. The city of Pittsburgh has a star who does whatever he can to be a role model for everyone and he has been embraced by the city and should be embraced even more.
Josh Karadeema is a professional sports videographer who currently works for the Tennessee Titans filming practices and games for coaches and player review. Josh also is a contributing writer for the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team he has watched since 2003, covering a variety of topics. Josh is a native of Jacksonville, FL and currently resides in Nashville, TN.