Sam Girard’s eyes light up behind round, tortoise-shell glasses as he points to one of the many black puck marks on Sidney Crosby’s dented family dryer.
“I like the story of when he would shoot on his [dryer],” said the 13-year-old hockey player from Montreal, standing in front of the Crosby exhibit inside the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in downtown Halifax.
“It’s special to see this … I like him and he’s an inspiration for me.”
A photo of the three-year-old Sidney Crosby is part of the Sydney Crosby display at the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in Halifax, June 6, 2016. (Photo: Andrew Vaughan/CP)
The temporary exhibit devoted to the Halifax-born Pittsburgh Penguins captain opened inside the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in 2008, but it has been kept open ever since due to its popularity.
“Here we are many years later and it’s an exhibit we just can’t take down. We have people from all over North America visit,” CEO Bill Robinson said, adding that Crosby himself has visited the exhibit.
About 70,000 people walk through the doors every year, Robinson said.
That will likely only increase if Crosby wins the second Stanley Cup of his celebrated career, which could come as early as Thursday’s Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks. The Penguins lead the best-of seven series 3-1.
“In the summertime we get a lot of tourists coming on the ships that come into Halifax and amazingly a lot of them know about the exhibit. They come up here with their Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys on,” Robinson said.
A sign advertises the Sidney Crosby display at the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in Halifax, June 6, 2016. (Photo: Andrew Vaughan/CP)
The display chronicles the life of the hockey hero, beginning with a Montreal Canadiens baby bottle and ending with the legendary Crosby family dryer, an appliance that has become synonymous with his determination on the road to the NHL.
The exhibit also features numerous jerseys, a scorecard from 1994, the puck he received after scoring 100 goals in peewee AAA and the helmet he wore while scoring an overtime goal to win the gold medal for Canada at the 2010 Olympics.
Halifax has been devoted to following his career, punctuated by big moments such as becoming the youngest captain in NHL history to win the Cup.
Cole Harbour, the community where he grew up, trumpets his name on its welcome sign. Thousands of fans lined a street in the neighbourhood in August, 2009, to watch Crosby parade hockey’s coveted trophy.
Wayne Gretzky poses with Sidney Crosby in an undated photo in the Sydney Crosby display at the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in Halifax, June 6, 2016. (Photo: Andrew Vaughan/CP)
He’s certainly not the only NHL player to come from the Halifax area, a region of roughly 400,000, but there’s something special about “Sid the Kid,” Robinson said.
“He’s done so much to bring glory and first-class recognition to Nova Scotia. He’s a very popular person and he’s well-liked,” he said.
Among the items on display: A junior high report card with excellent marks. It shows children that it takes more than skill to be a successful athlete, Robinson said.
“He’s very generous and he does that under the radar. He supports the hospital. He does a lot of stuff for minor hockey in the neighbourhood where he grew up. He’s just a real role model and we’re proud that he’s Nova Scotian.”