Skating with Little Penguins after practice brings out the little kid in Sidney Crosby
The Little Penguins brought out the little kid in Sidney Crosby.
The Pittsburgh Penguins superstar skated with 100 youth players from the “Little Penguins Learn to Play Hockey” program Wednesday afternoon after practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.
“You remember being that age and getting out on the ice and how fun it is, especially being on the ice with NHL players,” Crosby said. “I didn’t have that opportunity when I was young, so having a team here and the kids being local I think it’s fun for them and fun for us to be with them.”
The program, in its 11th season, provides free equipment to 2,000 youths ages 4-9. Those who received a random golden ticket upon picking up their equipment at Dick’s Sporting Goods locations were invited to skate with Crosby and Penguins players.
“It’s great to see that it’s caught on,” Crosby said. “Really, from Day 1 it has, but it seems to be getting more popular. It tells you that hockey is growing and that the kids are enjoying it.”
The Penguins captain and his teammates skated with 50 youth players on each rink at the Lemieux complex, offering pats on the back and high fives.
“You remember being a kid and looking for a high five when you get a new puck or a stick and realize how much that meant to you,” Crosby said, “so we’ve all had role models and followed players in sports.
“Hopefully, that’s something we can provide for them.”
Crosby said he takes being a role model for youth players seriously, knowing it’s something that comes with the territory of being an NHL star but also because it allows him to share his love for the game.
“As someone that just loves the game, you want to try to share that passion for the game with others, regardless of how old they are,” Crosby said. “When it’s kids, they bring so much energy and are so passionate about it that it’s a lot of fun to be around.”
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .