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Sidney Crosby surprises family with visit

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins



Tricia Pottie heard the doorbell ring Friday around noon and figured it was the cable guy who was coming to install a new service.

When she peeked through a small window in the door, she couldn't believe her eyes. It was Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

She panicked, not wanting to open the door because she was in her bathing suit, but she knew she couldn't let him leave.

"I opened it a little crack and I said, 'Hi!' And he said, 'Hi! I'm here to sign the jersey,'" Pottie said.

Three weeks ago, the Pottie family put a sign on the front lawn of their home in Enfield, Nova Scotia, that said, "Sid please sign my jersey." They took it down after a week, but Crosby saw it, remembered the house and dropped by two weeks later.

When the Pottie family moved there a couple of years ago, neighbors told them Crosby often traveled on the road in front of their house. His native Cole Harbour is about 30 minutes away.

"I said jokingly, 'Well I'm going to put a sign out front,'" Darryl Pottie, Tricia's husband, said. "He wins the [Stanley] Cup and I'm thinking, well now's the right time."

Darryl took a piece of plywood from the boards of the family's 30-by-80 backyard rink and made a sign with their 21-year-old daughter, Madisyn.

It stayed up for a week, around the time Crosby brought the Stanley Cup to his hometown, but Darryl needed the plywood to help haul their hot tub out of the garage and into the backyard.

"When I took it down, I thought, 'You know, he's probably been busy,' and I certainly didn't hold anything against him if he didn't see it," Darryl said. "I thought, 'He's probably just busy and being pulled in a million different directions and he's got so much going on.'"

Two weeks after the sign came down, Crosby was ringing their doorbell. He explained that he saw the sign and got a laugh out of it, but he was on his way out of town. When he returned to the area, he paid them a visit.

At the time, only Tricia and Madisyn were home. Darryl and their other daughter, 24-year-old Breanna, were at work. The entire family are huge fans, so they had numerous Crosby jerseys and other items for him to sign. Tricia scrambled to put more clothes on while Madisyn chatted with Crosby about the hockey team for which she played.

When they couldn't find a marker for Crosby to use, he went back to his truck and got one.

Crosby stayed for about 20 minutes and also spoke to Tricia about her children's mental health program called Strongest Families, which won the highest Ernest C. Manning Award for Canadian innovation in 2013.

"I talked a little bit about what I do because I know he's into youths and mental health," Tricia said. "And I just told him, we're so proud of you and my husband is such a big fan."

Once Crosby left, Tricia sent her husband an email with the subject line, "An old friend popped in."

"There was a picture, and I open it up," Darryl said. "Right away, I recognize my daughter and I look beside her and it's like, 'That...that's Sidney Crosby! Wait...wait a second. That's in my house! He's in my house!' And I'm screaming at my work, and people are looking at me like, 'What are you talking about?'"

Darryl still gets choked up remembering the scene of Crosby bringing the Stanley Cup home in 2009 on his 22nd birthday and the enormous crowd singing "Happy Birthday." He didn't make it to Crosby's celebration this time, but safe to say, this was a special consolation.

"He's the best hockey player in the world, an amazing guy, such an ambassador of the sport, an international superstar, and he takes the time just to drive into a guy's driveway and sign his jersey," Darryl said. "Just amazing."

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