It’s the first word that comes to mind when Sidney Crosby thinks about what it means to be from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia – which isn’t a big town by any means, but one where he says everyone takes a lot of pride in everything that they do.
It’s the reason he decided to bring the Stanley Cup back to his hometown for another parade during his time with the trophy, like the one he had in 2009.
And it’s why this celebration turned out to be just as incredible as the last one.
“I didn’t know if it could match the last one because it was just packed,” Crosby said. “Sure enough, it was packed again. That just shows you the support that’s here and just makes it that much more special when you’re able to bring it back and have a turnout like this.”
The route began at the St. John XXII Church and proceeded north, where thousands of people lined up on both sides of the street to watch their hometown hero with the Stanley Cup. It ended at Cole Harbour Place, where Crosby grew up playing youth hockey and hosted his second annual hockey school just this past week. And during that entire time, the 28-year-old reflected on his roots.
“Where we started, I used to play street hockey in that parking lot,” Crosby said. “That’s where I walked on my way to school. I don’t think I ever thought I’d be starting off a Stanley Cup parade there. All those things go through your head.
“The way to the rink here, that’s exactly how I came to the rink for every game or practice. That’s what it’s about. Dreams and them coming true and being able to share them with everybody.”
There were hundreds of people waiting for Crosby at Cole Harbour Place, where there were a few familiar faces in the crowd – including people who had been a part of his life while growing up here and helped him become the person who he is today.
“I look back and on the parade route today, I saw one of my teachers from junior high,” Crosby said. “I haven’t seen him in probably 10 years, but I saw him on the parade route and I think about even the impact he had and how good of a teacher he was. Whether you move on and play in the NHL or not, I think people always impact you in the community and there’s so many people who do that here. I feel pretty lucky to have had people like that around me.”
The crowd watched a highlight video on a big screen in the parking lot before turning their attention to the stage, where there were a few guest speakers before TSN’s Gord Miller hosted a Q&A session with Crosby.
That capped off a couple of days that began on Friday, where Crosby surprised the campers at his hockey school with the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy before taking them to a children’s hospital, a veterans’ hospital and then out on the water in Halifax.
The captain certainly hasn’t gotten a lot of sleep, but that’s okay.
“I think you run on adrenaline for two days when you have it and I wasn’t going to try and save myself for today,” Crosby said with a smile. “I was going to get every hour I could with the Cup. It’s going to be moving on tonight, so just got to soak up everything.”