Despite it being his 15th year in the NHL, Sidney Crosby continues to wow young hockey fans.
But his effect goes beyond that, he’s also inspired boys and girls to learn the game. And the results are already showing.
Last Thursday, the Johnstown Warriors Cambria Youth Hockey Program’s 12-and-under, all-girls team, the first in the organizations’ 53-year history, was surprised with tickets to the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ game against the Anaheim Ducks.
But the bigger surprise came earlier this season, when the team’s coach, Sheri Hudspeth, learned that all 17 girls on the team had started playing hockey in the Penguins captain’s Little Penguins “Learn to Play Hockey” program.
And when they found out they were going to see their idol, they couldn’t contain their excitement.
“We told the girls that since they all played Little Penguins, they’re here to see the big Penguins,” Hudspeth told Pittsburgh’s team reporter Michelle Crechiolo.
“They came off the bus just screaming.”
They can’t be it if they can’t see it! @PWHPA #DREAMGAPtour come play @1stSummitArena in Johnstown PA. 3700 seat arena home of Slap Shot, #Hockeyvilleusa and @JtnWarriors #girlshockey #ForTheGame #ItStartsHere FHERDA pic.twitter.com/DfnaMPnsy8
— Sheri Hudspeth (@Coach_Sheri) October 13, 2019
The team showed their appreciation by holding signs that spelled out “Crosby’s Girls” at the game.
The players also brought him a Johnstown Warriors jersey and left him individually signed photos of them in their Little Penguins equipment.
“Every single girl, all 17 of them, started with Little Penguins. That’s why we have a team now,” Hudspeth said. “This doesn’t happen without him. We are so grateful.”
Crosby said it was “really cool” when he found about his influence on the all-girls team.
“That’s what it’s all about. It doesn’t always work out that way, but the fact that they made a team and are all continuing to play is great,” he told Crechiolo.
My sister Taylor grew up playing hockey, and sometimes growing up, we had girls on our team. The fact that there’s enough girls to make a full team tells you that girls’ hockey is doing pretty well. It’s great to see.”