Sidney Crosby will have his No. 87 retired by the Rimouski Oceanic on Friday night against the Sherbrooke Phoenix in a game that also marks the 25th anniversary of the QMJHL franchise.
The current Pittsburgh Penguins captain only spent two seasons in Rimouski, but left a big impact over that period.
As Crosby is honoured, there’s no better time to look back at his junior career and five of the top moments.
Fresh out of playing midget with Shattuck St. Mary’s, Rimouski drafted Crosby first overall in the 2003 QMJHL draft.
The Cole Harbour, N.S., native had eight points in his first pre-season game to set the tone on what would be an impressive year.
He carried the momentum into his first regular season game when he scored a hat trick during an eight-minute stretch in the third period against Rouyn-Noranda as the Oceanic rallied for a 4-3 win.
Crosby was kept off the scoresheet just six times during the 2003-04 season over the course of 59 games.
He finished the year with 135 points, including 54 goals and 81 assists – third all-time in QMJHL history by a rookie.
Oh, and does anyone remember this beauty he scored against Quebec?
Crosby’s remarkable rookie year earned him CHL honours in three categories, including Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Top Scorer of the Year.
THE DRAFT YEAR
If Crosby was feeling any pressure in his NHL Draft year, it certainly didn’t show.
Both Crosby and the Oceanic achieved great heights in 2004-05.
Individually, he accumulated 168 points that included 66 goals – far off Mario Lemieux’s record 133 from the 1983-84 campaign – and 102 assists in 62 games. From October to February, Crosby had a 37-game point streak.
As a team, Rimouski went on a run of 35 consecutive games without losing (28 regular season, seven in playoffs) and won the President Cup. Crosby earned playoff MVP honours for his performance.
2005 MEMORIAL CUP
Crosby didn’t blink during what was the biggest hockey stage of his career at that point.
He finished the Memorial Cup with 11 points – tops in the tournament – and helped Rimouski reach the championship game where they fell to arguably the best junior team ever assembled in that year’s London Knights.
Crosby’s performance at the Canadian major junior championship also featured a hat trick against the Ottawa 67’s.
ACCOLADES & DRAFT
Crosby once again earned CHL honours in both the Player of the Year and Top Scorer of the Year categories. He’s the only player to ever have won player of the year honours in back-to-back seasons.
The impressive junior career cumulated in being drafted No. 1 overall by the Penguins at the 2005 draft. He’s since gone on to have an illustrious career including three Stanley Cups, two Conn Smythe Trophies, two Olympic gold medals and a world championship to name a few.
Rimouski had a big impact on the 32-year-old’s hockey career and he appears to have cherished those memories as witnessed in 2017 when he brought Lord Stanley to the city.
Earlier this year, the QMJHL named Crosby the third greatest player to ever play in its league.