The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced a major honor for one of the best players in the game last night. Commissioner Gilles Courteau revealed that, beginning with the 2020-21 season, the No. 87 will be retired league-wide out of respect for the “contributions to the QMJHL and to hockey” of one Sidney Crosby.
Crosby, undoubtedly one of the biggest names in the NHL right now and perhaps one of the greatest players of all time, started to make a name for himself in hockey in the QMJHL 15 years ago. The Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia native debuted in 2003-04 with Rimouski Oceanic. While he only played two seasons of junior hockey, Crosby recorded a jaw-dropping 303 points over those two years with Rimouski. Since departing from the league to join the NHL, no QMJHLer has been able to top Crosby’s 168-point sophomore season and only one player has managed to surpass his 135-point debut campaign. Crosby’s time in the QMJHL represented two of the best seasons in the modern era of the league’s history. In fact, he is the only player to earn league MVP honors in back-to-back seasons. Crosby was named the third best player in all of QMJHL history last year, during the league’s 50th Anniversary celebration, behind only Guy LaFleur and mentor and Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux.
Since he left the QMJHL, Crosby has managed to make his unbelievable junior production look like only a minor footnote on his tremendous career. Crosby has been the captain of the Penguins since 2007-08 and has led the team to three Stanley Cup championships in that time. He has averaged 1.3 points per game over his NHL career, including six different 100+ point seasons, totaling 1216 points in 943 games. Crosby is an eight-time All-Star who has won two Hart Trophies, two Art Ross Trophies, two Maurice Richard Trophies, and two Conn Smythe Trophies, as well as a total of five gold medals across the Olympics, World Championships, and World Juniors. And he’s still not done. Crosby shows no signs of slowing down and there are surely more accolades to come in his storied career. In selecting a true game-changing talent to honor with a league-wide jersey retirement, the QMJHL could not have done better than to choose Sidney Crosby, whose iconic No. 87 will now be immortalized forever in the league.