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Crosby exhibit a success in Halifax

Alex J. Walling
5/14/2008 10:57:12 AM
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Even though he's in another country playing playoff hockey right now, Nova Scotia's Sidney Crosby is still making an impression in Halifax.

The Sidney Crosby Exhibit is on display in the city as part of the IIHF 2008 World Championship, put out by the Nova Scotia Hall of Fame in conjunction with the Crosby family. This exhibition took some considerable effort between the NSHOF and Hockey Hall of Fame, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Rimouski Oceanic, Shattuck-St-Mary's prep school and Hockey Canada.

And the result is an amazing overview of Sid The Kid's first 20 years.

It could be called anything and everything you wanted to know about Crosby, beginning with the Montreal Canadiens (he was a huge Habs fan) baby bottle that he drank from.

Let's not forget that Crosby is just 20-years old. So just how many pictures and how much other material can a teenager have?

Many kids compile a few trophies when they play minor hockey, but as we know, Crosby was never just any ordinary hockey player.

"We got great cooperation from the Crosby's," said NSHOF executive director Bill Robinson. "They liked the idea and went out of their way to make this happen."

Out of their way meant opening the family scrapbook and lending the Nova Scotia Hall items like the puck-beaten, yellowish dryer that the Pittsburgh star shot up in his basement.

"It's probably the most talked about item in the exhibit," said Robinson. "But the pictures and other paraphernalia also draws lots of attention and compliments."

And did I mention the pictures?  There are so many high-quality photos, even the people from Kodak would be proud.

Now I've heard that the late great Mickey Mantle was rolled a baseball by his dad when he was a few months old. Tennis legend Andre Agassi was once asked by 60 Minutes about 'life before tennis,' to which he answered, "I can't remember a time in my life that tennis was not involved." 

And the pictures on display reveal the same about Crosby. There are shots of him in his first game, others from his years of minor hockey and a lot of them with the Kid wearing his now-famed No. 87 for Shattuck-St. Mary's, Rimouski and Pittsburgh.

This exhibit is a complete display of Crosby's development and young career.

"It's just simply awesome," gushed a bunch of young girls who saw the exhibition. And he was so cute as a kid."

"What a great thing to do during this tourney," said tourist Ralph Dawson, an Ottawa resident in Halifax for the Worlds.

There are so many other compliments of this nature, but the item that gets the most attention is the famed dryer.

Not only are all the puck marks visible, but so is Crosby.  There is a life size picture of the kid holding a hockey stick located right next to the dryer as if he were guarding it.

Many people got to know about this famed artifact from the Tonight Show in 2005. Crosby, in his rookie year with the Penguins, went on Jay Leno's show and the host asked him about the dryer story. Leno told the audience that he couldn't get the real dryer from Cole Harbour, but brought in a new dryer and challenged Crosby to shoot a puck in it.  Crosby shot and scored, and a red light mounted on the dryer lit up.

Needless to say, there are line-ups of people wanting to have their picture taken with Sid the Kid and his dryer. And the famous dryer could one day end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The trophies are another great element of the exhibit. Forget the minor hockey ones, as a moving van would be required to lug them over. We're talking about big time awards like the Hart Trophy, the Art Ross Trophy, the Lester B. Pearson Award and the Lou Marsh Award as Canada's athlete of the year. 

The Stanley Cup - something that Crosby could be hoisting in a month's time - also showed up in Halifax this weekend. So it was truly monumental having all those great NHL trophies in one place. 

Many of the exhibit items have memories and meaning to the Crosby family, and it is a very nice gesture of them to share it. Equally impressive is the fact that the NSHOF is making it easy to see the display at the Halifax Metro Centre - whether you're attending a game or not.

The biggest surprise of the Crosby exhibit is the exposure it got. 

"This exhibit has been seen across the world or so it seems," said Robinson. "From TSN to the National News to the major networks in Europe to write- ups. This is something we did not expect. We did it for those who were going to take in the IIHF event, but never expected this kind of media coverage."

And no where is Crosby's drawing power more evident than in the lineup of kids preferring a shot of the dryer over the Stanley Cup. "The kids know about the dryer and they rush to see it," said the Hall of Fame executive director. "It's amazing to watch them."

The Crosby family has allowed the Hall of Fame to continue the exhibition until the end of June, so if you are in the Halifax area you should drop in. In fact, there may be another picture added to the list.

One of Crosby holding the Stanley Cup.

For TSN.ca I'm Alex J. Walling.

AJ can be reached via email at: ajw@eastlink.ca




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