From the Publisher
“…a riveting documentary of a player who transcends his sport.”
— Montreal Gazette
“ an excellent inside look at Cole Harbour’s hockey sensation during his first year ....”
— The Chronicle Herald
"His first NHL season, her first book: Sidney Crosby and Shawna Richer both had splendid years. The Globe and Mail writer captures Crosby's rookie year in Pittsburgh, dripping with narrative and nuance, with the practiced eye of a seasoned foreign correspondent."
— Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated
"Sidney Crosby was never going to be just another hockey player, and The Rookie isn't just another hockey book. Thanks to Shawna Richer's terrific eyes and ears — as well as her deft touch around a keyboard — we're treated to an insider's view not only of one of the game's future stars, but of the game itself. And from here, both look pretty damn good."
— Chris Jones, Esquire Magazine
“The most interesting assignment of the year in sports journalism — wall-to-wall coverage of Penguins rookie phenom Sidney Crosby.”
— Sports Illustrated
“If we really wanted to penetrate the life and times of a great player, and through him understand hockey . . . we had to be there for all those serendipitous moments of meaning.”
— Edward Greenspon, Globe and Mail
"Leave it to two Atlantic Canadians to be the stars of a book: Sidney Crosby the athlete, Shawna Richer the gifted writer. To paraphrase Roy MacGregor's words in the forward which rung true throughout: Shawna has an ability to draw an athlete out to reveal inner thoughts. Something the rest of us can only envy. A wonderful documentation of what happened on the ice and what went on the head of this dedicated player at the rink and away from it."
—Mike Emrick, NHL on NBC
Read an Excerpt
It was a great day for hockey.
The National Hockey League entry draft held July 30, 2005, on a warm summer afternoon in downtown Ottawa was the most celebrated and signiﬁcant selection day held in several decades. At the same time it was entirely anti-climactic.
Hastily arranged after the nhl owners and players reached a deal to end an acrimonious 310-day lockout that forced cancellation of the 2004-2005 season, the draft starred the most desirable young hockey player to come along since Mario Lemieux had arrived on the scene in 1984. A teenaged boy from a small village on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia was a lock to be the number one pick.
His name was Sidney Crosby. He had tousled dark hair and an abundant cowlick, bee-stung lips, a generous, toothy grin, and in most lights he resembled exactly what he was — a boy still sixteen days shy of his eighteenth birthday. For someone who had not yet played a single shift of professional hockey, he was already remarkably famous.
Several seasons before the ugly labour dispute shut down Canada’s beloved pastime, the 2005 nhl draft became billed as the Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes. For years, his childhood scoring prowess had been widely known throughout the Maritimes. He was thrust into the national spotlight at the age of fourteen after a remarkable mvp performance in what was then called the Air Canada Cup, the country’s championship tournament for midget-aged players, in April 2002. Crosby went on to set records in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Rimouski Oceanic — his 135 points as a sixteen-year-old was the most by a player that age in the Quebec league’s history and second in Canadian Hockey League history, behind only Wayne Gretzky’s 182 points with Sault Ste. Marie in 1977-1978. In what had become the most often repeated tale of his young life so far, Crosby’s reputation was bolstered even further when Gretzky himself told a sportswriter with the Arizona Republic that the Canadian youngster was the only player he had ever seen who had a shot at breaking his own numerous nhl scoring records.
The draft order had been set a week earlier, but even before that Crosby had eagerly promised to don the sweater of whichever team selected him. That he would play in the nhl was a highly anticipated certainty, one of the few things about the league’s return to action that autumn that was predictable. This draft, even more than the ratiﬁcation of the collective bargaining agreement by the National Hockey League Players’ Association and its subsequent unanimous acceptance by the league’s thirty owners, marked the return of hockey and the birth of the nhl’s renaissance. Sidney’s arrival in the nhl didn’t just coincide with hockey’s homecoming, it more or less launched it.
The league was desperately in need of a saviour, a gifted, gracious poster boy who could help repair the widespread damage caused by the previous season’s strike and the ﬂood of negative publicity that ensued. Crosby had already been christened the Next One, just as several other players, chieﬂy Eric Lindros and Joe Thornton, had been at one time. But already Crosby seemed different from those who had come before.