It was, quite simply, fandemonium.
Organizers of last night’s Olympic Torch celebrations said they were expecting about 7,000 people to show up to watch Sidney Crosby run with the flame down Brunswick Street.
Instead, they got at least double that number, and the resulting chaos along the route quickly overwhelmed security and police officers on hand for the event.
Crosby, decked out in the official Olympic torchbearer uniform, was mobbed by dozens of photographers, journalists and eager fans as he made the final turn onto Carmichael Street and prepared to hand the flame to snowboarder Sarah Conrad of Dartmouth. With no barriers to stop the crowd from advancing, police tried their best to clear a path for the 22-year-old hockey superstar.
In the end, he reached his destination and the flame was given to Conrad, who ran it through Grand Parade and lit the community cauldron. By then, Crosby had been ferried away to the nearby World Trade and Convention Centre.
“I was a bit surprised,” he said when asked about the mob scene. “But we’re spoiled here with the amount of support we get. It was only a few months ago at the Stanley Cup parade that I was amazed by the turnout there. After going through that, it’s easy to see how proud people are.”
Eight-year-old Zoey MacIntyre was one fan who braved the crowds for a glimpse at Crosby’s big run. She waited patiently with her dad, Brian, and her five-year-old brother, Chase, and said it would be the first time she would see Crosby in person.
“My brother saw him at a parade once …but I didn’t,” she said. “I’m really excited.”
Crosby seemed pretty excited himself, grinning widely as he talked about feeling “proud” and “honoured” to be carrying the torch.
He stopped short, however, of speculating about a possible trip to Vancouver in February as part of Team Canada.
The roster for the men’s hockey team will be announced on New Year’s Eve.
“In this time, in this moment, I just tried to really enjoy it,” he said.