OTTAWA, Ontario – “Sid the Kid” is now “Captain Canada.”
Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who lifted his home country to gold in Vancouver four years ago, will captain the Canadian hockey team in Sochi.
“You hear names being kind of thrown around,” Crosby said. “There’s so many leaders and so many guys capable of leading by example. It’s just an honor.”
The 26-year-old currently leads the NHL in scoring and has become the face of both the NHL and hockey in Canada.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews and the Nashville Predators’ Shea Weber will be alternate captains, Hockey Canada announced Sunday.
“Sidney, Jonathan and Shea have been leaders on the international stage in the past, as well as with their NHL teams,” coach Mike Babcock said in a statement. “These three players will be at the forefront of our efforts in Sochi, but we are confident we have 25 players on our roster that will lead in their own way and allow our team to be successful.”
Crosby was made the youngest captain in NHL history when he got the “C” for the Penguins 6½ years ago. In 2009, he raised the Stanley Cup as captain. Crosby said he heard from Babcock “a couple days ago” but doesn’t expect much to change with the new title.
At the 2010 Olympics, Crosby was an alternate along with Chris Pronger and Jarome Iginla. He scored the gold-medal-winning goal in overtime against the United States.
“I don’t know if you need a boost or any extra motivation or any extra excitement for the Olympics,” Crosby said. “I don’t think it changes my mindset going in, but I think as we get closer, I get excited for it.”
Veteran defenseman Scott Niedermayer captained the 2010 team and said before his Hockey Hall of Fame induction in November that he had no doubt Crosby was ready to assume the role.
Russia has already picked Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings as captain. It’s Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins for Slovakia and Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens for the Czech Republic.
The United States has yet to announce its captain, though general manager David Poile singled out Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan and David Backes as leaders.
Caroline Ouellette was chosen as captain of Canada’s women’s team.