A rare Saturday evening out of the broadcast booth allowed me to catch some of the Leafs/Penguins game on "Hockey Night in Canada" . . . I must say I love watching Sidney Crosby play the game. I rarely get a chance during the hockey season but he is something special isn't he?
I had a chance to meet and interview Crosby at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa. The new CBA had just been ratified and the NHL draft, although scaled down a bit was held at the Westin Hotel's biggest ballroom in downtown Ottawa.
Having met Crosby and his family the day before the draft at the Top Prospects Luncheon, I thought to myself "boy there's a lot of hype surrounding this kid, he's being touted as the Next One and he's yet to put up a point in the NHL." He was great, all weekend. He answered every question (as repetitive as they might have been from the media throngs across Canada and North America) with a smile and was very humble in his words.
The next day at the draft after Crosby was taken 1st overall by Pittsburgh (what a shocker!) the NHL media relations department was granting all media one-on-one interviews with Crosby. You see, at the time the NHL had a lot of people to win over after the lengthy lock-out. They wanted their new and old stars to be completely accessible by the fans and the media. They were in major PR mode and I was about to take full advantage. I was 3rd in line for a one-on-one with Crosby that we later aired on the Eagle 94.1 FM with our weekend long draft coverage.
I started by saying "Hey, nice shirt and tie." Sidney and myself by chance were wearing the same shirt and tie combo. If you look at the picture you'll notice the blue, white and silver speckled tie with the light blue dress shirt. If you've seen my around the rink you'll know that's one of my "go-to combos", or as Dean Chynoweth calls it "in your number ones". Sidney laughed and said "we better not be seen together the rest of the day". The interview was only a few questions . . . TSN, Sportsnet, and The Score were all waiting in line.
We were all wearing lanyards around our neck identifying who we were and who we worked for. Crosby's lanyard just had an NHL logo on it and identified him as a "Top Prospect". I've never done this except this one time. I asked if he would sign it for me. He graciously agreed. I'm not in the business of asking sports figures for their autograph but I made this one exception.
So I'm glad to see he's living up to all the hype as he presently leads the NHL in scoring in his 2nd season and the early favorite for the Hart Trophy as league MVP.
Broncos and Hitmen tomorrow night @ 7pm, now it's off to make the most of my Saturday night off.