Tonight in Rimouski, Quebec, a typical QMJHL matchup between the Sherbrooke Phoenix and the Oceanic will turn atypical, as Sidney Crosby is set to be in attendance to watch his former junior team raise his No. 87 jersey to the rafters.
Crosby will become just the sixth member in Oceanic history to have their jersey number retired, joining the likes of Vincent Lecavalier, Allan Sirois, Brad Richards, Michel Ouellet, and Jonathan Beaulieu.
“Everybody is buzzing,” said head coach and general manager Serge Beausoleil in an interview with The Chronicle Herald. “Of course we have to prepare the team for Friday’s game, but at the same time it’s a huge event. When you have that kind of player and that kind of human being coming to your city for this kind of event, it’s special. The legacy he left here, I have a lack of words.”
During his two seasons with the Oceanic, Crosby collected a monster 303 points in 121 games, won the 2005 President Cup, and was named the CHL’s player of the year twice. Crosby also, after winning the Stanley Cup championship in 2017, took the Cup to Rimouski, showing that he still has a special bond with the eastern Canadian city.
“Sidney is one of the greats from our league,” Beausoleil continued. “But it’s also the way he is as a human being, how he is so kind with everyone. You cannot invent that kind of thing. It’s honest and it’s (genuine). The way he is as a person is from the heart. You can feel it. There’s nothing fake about Sidney Crosby and, for me, that’s the best thing we can teach our kids.”
Sidney Crosby fighting back tears with a minutes-long standing ovation in Rimouski, crowd chanting “Cros-by, Cros-by!” Honestly one of the longest standing ovations I’ve ever witnessed. It’s unending. pic.twitter.com/4dPqVkoJ9I— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) September 27, 2019
UPDATE: As the ceremony was taking place Friday night, Crosby was surprised with a league-wide retirement of the No. 87, not just the expected jersey retirement by Rimouski. He is the first player in the Q’s history to receive this honor.