HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Underneath his plain black ball cap, there are a few gray hairs sprouting atop the head of a certain superstar hockey player who long has been known as The Kid.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, whose nickname, Sid The Kid, has followed him through three Stanley Cup titles, marked his 30th birthday Monday by celebrating with the Canadian city where he was raised.
Crosby, accompanied by hockey's most coveted trophy, served as honorary grand marshal of the Natal Day Parade, which capped a weekend of festivities celebrating his home city's 122nd birthday.
“Lots. Grays and whites,” Crosby said with his signature smile while having a laugh with members of the media who gathered inside Halifax Forum before the annual parade in Nova Scotia's capital city.
But if two Art Ross, two Conn Smythe, two Hart Memorial and two Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophies — along with two Olympic gold medals, his trio of Stanley Cups and a plethora of other honors — are any indication, a few gray hairs aren't throwing Crosby off his game.
“I think with age, hopefully, my game becomes a little ... smarter,” he said. “Things like speed ... we all know that's typically not something that's going to last as long, but if you can make up for it in other areas, you give yourself a better chance of that success.”
Despite a long list of impressive accomplishments, Crosby said he doesn't take any of them — including laying claim to the Stanley Cup — for granted.
“It's still something that pushes me every day, to be able to win that, to be able to have these type of experiences,” he said. “You have a window to be able to do this, you know. It's not something you take for granted.”
Crosby also didn't take his supporters for granted during his quality time with the Cup over the weekend.
Following Monday's press conference, Crosby took time to chat with a group of young hockey campers in the arena parking lot before their hometown hockey hero jumped into a white pickup truck to take his spot at the head of the parade.
On Sunday, Crosby stopped by children's hospital the IWK Health Centre and Camp Hill Veterans Memorial Building at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax to spend time with fans before heading to his Grand Lake home for a party with family and friends.
After Monday's parade in Halifax and Dartmouth, Crosby went to Rimouski, Quebec, for his second parade of the day. It marked the first time Crosby brought the Cup back to the community that became his home during his two seasons with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
In Halifax Regional Municipality, an amalgamated city that includes Crosby's hometown of Cole Harbour, tens of thousands of residents lined the streets for a parade held annually, but this time, with Crosby at its helm.
Neighborhoods on both sides of Halifax Harbour were awash in Penguins black and gold, and crowds erupted into cheers as Crosby and the Cup approached. Many fans sang “Happy Birthday” as he waved to them, his sunglasses hiding his eyes but not his grin.
“Awesome!” Parker exclaimed in unison with fellow Pens fans Maria King and Madison MacMullin, both 12, and 10-year-old Addison MacIntyre, of what it was like seeing Crosby roll by in his truck.
This isn't the first time Crosby has taken Lord Stanley for a ride through town on his birthday. He carried the trophy through Cole Harbour on his 22nd birthday — Aug. 7, 2009 — after his first Stanley Cup win. Last year, his parade was July 15 in conjunction with his annual hockey camp but also limited to the Cole Harbour community.
This year, the parade route stretched from the other side of the harbor, in Halifax's north end, moving across Angus L. Macdonald Bridge, and to the Lake Banook area of Dartmouth. The Natal Day route allowed more residents to catch a glimpse of Crosby and his sparkling Cup.
“It's pretty special to be able to do this on my birthday and share it with everybody,” he said. “I don't feel 30 sometimes. Sometimes I do. It depends, so I just try to enjoy things as much as I can. But it's just a number to me.”