Sid the Kid became Sid the Coach on Tuesday.
Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby came to Pittsburgh to take part in the Pittsburgh Penguins Youth Hockey School at the RMU/Island Sports Center on Neville Island.
Crosby served as a guest instructor throughout the day, much to the amazement of the star-struck campers.
“It’s amazing for the kids to get to experience that. Not many kids get the chance to get on the ice and play hockey with Sidney Crosby or have him teach some of the things he’s learned along the way,” said Penguins assistant coach Mike Yeo, the camp’s lead instructor. “I think it just shows the character of a guy like Sidney Crosby to take time out of his busy summer to come out here and be with the kids. It’s great for the kids, the community and the game.”
When presented with the opportunity to serve as a guest instructor at the hockey school, Crosby couldn’t pass it up. He flew to Pittsburgh at his own expense because he knows how much of an impact the experience is for youngsters.
“It’s fun. I can remember being 6 or 7 and Brad Richards taught me at a hockey school and now I am playing against him,” he said. “It’s kind of funny how things work like that. You always remember those times in your life when you meet people like that. To be able to do it here is nice.”
The players at the hockey school ranged in age from 6-17. Crosby, only 19, isn’t much older.
“Yeah I know, it’s funny,” he said with a smile.
Crosby was not just a passive observer. He immediately jumped into the drills and worked with as many players as possible during the various on-ice sessions.
“He loves being out there with them. He has a lot of fun and gets involved with them,” Yeo said. “He was passing pucks to them and he’s teaching them. What they might learn from him is going to be a big part of their development.”
The players were thrilled to skate alongside No. 87.
“This fun. Having him skate around and trying to steal the puck off us,” one player said.
They listened to his advice, too.
“These are good skills to learn from someone who is advanced like that,” another player said.
“It’s pretty cool. He’s an accomplished athlete and he knows what he’s talking about,” a third player said.
Crosby was glad to teach some skills and share a few laughs with the youngsters.
“It’s a great opportunity. We were all in this position once before,” he said. “We are all here to have some fun, but at the same time, try to teach some things. It’s nice to be out here and I hoped everyone had some fun.”