Sidney Crosby leads Natal Day parade through Halifax and Dartmouth as he turns 30

'It just demands attention,' Penguins captain Sidney Crosby says about the Stanley Cup, before participating as grand marshal in today's Natal Day parade in his home province of Nova Scotia.

Penguins captain and the Stanley Cup draw crowds at the 122nd annual event

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby parades through the streets of Halifax with the Stanley Cup on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Crosby, the parade grand marshal, is a three-time Stanley Cup champion and was celebrating his 30th birthday. (The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan)

Thousands turned out for a special parade in Halifax and Dartmouth today to see marching bands, floats and — oh, yes — the Stanley Cup.

The grand marshal is three-time Stanley Cup champion Sidney Crosby. The Penguins captain has been in his home province of Nova Scotia in the days leading up to the parade, hoisting the championship trophy won in June when Pittsburgh defeated the Nashville Predators. 

At a news conference before the parade, Crosby said the best part of sharing the Cup is seeing people's reactions.

"I think everyone can connect somehow. Whether it's their favourite team that's won it or their parent's team, there's some type of link or connection," he said. "If you love the game of hockey, you love the history of the game and what comes with it.

"Regardless of whether you're a hockey fan or not, it just demands attention, so everyone flocks to it pretty quickly."

Sid no longer a kid

Crosby, who celebrates his 30th birthday today, admitted he has seen a few grey and white hairs cropping up, and recognizes age isn't necessarily a friend to professional hockey players.

"It's amazing how fast time goes by," he said. "It makes you realize that it doesn't get any easier."

Crosby said while skills like speed may diminish with age, he expects that by playing "a little more smarter" and resting more, he'll meet with success.

"I think you just go in with the right mindset and attitude and give yourself the best chance."

Sidney Crosby speaks with reporters at a news conference before the Natal Day parade in Halifax and Dartmouth. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

As Crosby prepares to head back to Pittsburgh at the end of the month, he said, he and his team will start training with the goal of winning the Cup for the third time in a row.

"I have a pretty good understanding of how hard two is, so I don't imagine what three must be like. I'd love to find out."

Adoring fans

Fans lined the streets of Halifax and Dartmouth as Crosby and the Cup wended their way through the area.

Nyanza Julian brought her four-month-old baby, Daisy Mae Prosper, to catch a glimpse of Julian's favourite player. 

Julian said Daisy Mae saw her first Penguins game the day she was born.

"I'm a huge Crosby fan. And my boyfriend's a really big Malkin fan, so naturally she's going to be a Penguins fan."

Braeden King, 13, said the Penguins were the first team he ever saw, and he's been a fan of Crosby ever since.

"I think what makes him so good is his speed and his shot," he said. "The way he plays, he plays a pretty good game."

Fans wait for Sidney Crosby to go by during the 2017 Natal Day parade on Aug. 7, 2017. (Stephanie Clattenburg/CBC)

Crosby has been spotted a few times in the area, including at a children's hospital, a veterans' hospital and a farmers' market.