The 50th Anniversary of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will be celebrated in a number of ways this season. One of which is a countdown of the league’s 50 greatest players based solely on their QMJHL accomplishments. They stand out among 9511 players who played in the QMJHL over the past 50 years. Yours truly was part of the committee entrusted with the difficult task of making these selections.
The player ranked at No. 3 in the QMJHL’s 50-year history is Sidney Crosby.
A native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Sidney Crosby definitely left his mark on the QMJHL over his two seasons in the league thanks to his 135 and 168-point seasons with the Rimouski Océanic.
The No. 1 pick in the 2003 QMJHL Entry Draft, Crosby wasted no time making an impression, scoring no less than a hat trick in his first game on September 12, 2003 in Rouyn-Noranda when the 16-year-old scored three goals over an eight-minute span in the third period. A legend was born. Two weeks earlier, he had registered eight points in a preseason game versus Baie-Comeau within the first 40 minutes of play.
Crosby set the league ablaze, winning the scoring title in each of his two seasons in the “Q” and also broke the record for most points by a 16-year-old in 2003-04, a mark that belonged to Normand Dupont (No. 21 on our list) for 30 years. Crosby won the Guy-Lafleur Trophy as Playoffs MVP in 2005 on his way to leading the Océanic to a President Cup title.
The now-famous No. 87 is the only player in history to have ever won back-to-back CHL Player of the Year honours. He is also the only 16-year-old to have ever been named to Team Canada at the World Juniors, having won silver in 2004 and then gold in 2005.
Drawing crowds everywhere he’s been, Crosby has over the years become one of the QMJHL’s greatest ambassadors worldwide. He is a three-time Stanley Cup Champion and, of course, famous for scoring the golden goal at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. Crosby is one of only 10 Canadians to have won the Triple Crown: Olympic gold, World Championship gold and, of course, the Stanley Cup. Among QMJHL alumni, only Patrice Bergeron belongs to this exclusive club.
In July 2005, he became the eighth player in QMJHL history to be chosen first overall in the NHL Entry Draft when he was picked by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He joins Mario Lemieux, Pierre Turgeon, Alexandre Daigle and Nathan McKinnon among our Top 50 to have been chosen first overall at the NHL Entry Draft.
Two Hart, two Art Ross, two Maurice Richard, two Conn Smythe trophies and two Ted Lindsay awards later, Sidney Crosby is still widely heralded as the best player in the NHL today and recently cracked the 1,200-point mark at only 31 years of age.