From left to right: Kelly Hrudey, Sidney Crosby, CBC cameraman Eric Wooliscroft, Bruce Rainnie and Scott Russell at the Grand Parade Square in Halifax during the Hockey Day in Canada event. (Bruce Rainnie)
Few greater treasures exist for a hockey-loving nation than a player who has come to symbolize the sport most of us obsess over.
Sidney Crosby glitters like gold because of what he does on the ice. This puckish, Pittsburgh Penguin star is considered to be a Canadian treasure. And in the Christmas celebration of 2010, Crosby's gift to the game still creates a sense of wonder.
Even for the Scrooge in those of us who have allowed hockey to lose its sheen, "Sid the Kid" has the ability to bring us back. Just like the brand new pair of skates that we once rushed to discover under the tree - Crosby is a little bit of magic.
By his playing hockey Sidney causes us to follow his amazing voyage of delight even when we are distracted by other things. He's so good that if you aren't watching him you're really not watching the game.
Most influential Canadian
Recently CBCSports.ca declared he was the most influential person in the realm of Canadian sport. He polled more votes than all the executives, administrators and people wearing expensive suits who scheme behind the scenes to transform games into entertainment properties and business propositions.
It's because Sidney Crosby makes things happen by virtue of simply playing. He scored the "Golden Goal" that ignited a nation at the Olympics in Vancouver. In the end, he gave us the greatest celebration we could have hoped for. Others may have contributed but it was Crosby who, when all was said and done, was the founder of the feast.
His scoring exploits this season are causing us to keep track of his statistics and check in on games when the Penguins are playing in spite of the fact that we've already lost faith in the Leafs and other beloved teams. You have to smile each time you see a kid wearing a Penguins sweater with Crosby's name tattooed on the back.
He causes people to believe.
I remember when my colleague Bruce Rainnie first introduced us to Sidney Crosby on Hockey Day in Canada a few years back and we all discovered the kid from Nova Scotia who was known to fire pucks at his mother's washer and dryer. I met him with Kelly Hrudey at Grand Parade Square in Halifax. He was just a smiling boy.
Crosby was a wonder then and remains a wonder now.
The gift of Sid is very welcome this Christmas. He is to hockey what spirit is to the season - the essential ingredient.
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