When the Canadian men’s hockey team won gold at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Sidney Crosby celebrated as a fan like the rest of us.

“At the time you felt so lucky to witness that,” Crosby said after practising on a line with Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash for the second straight day at Team Canada’s orientation camp in Calgary. “To see the whole country celebrate the way they did, it was pretty awesome.”

Four years later, Crosby was well on his way to a 102-point campaign as a rookie forward with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but that still didn’t earn him a spot on Team Canada for the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy.

“Never in a million years would I have thought my name would be considered for that team,” Crosby said. “When I wasn’t there, it wasn’t a huge shock. I was really young and still had a lot to prove.”

Fresh off a Stanley Cup championship with the Penguins, Crosby has his sights set on helping lead Canada to gold in February in Vancouver at the 2010 Games.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in the Olympics in your home country,” said Crosby, who realizes there will be tremendous pressure on Canada to rebound from a seventh-place showing four years ago. “That’s to be expected. If anything, it should be helping as far as motivation and making sure that guys are full of energy.”

The orientation camp will help Crosby get familiarized with players he will potentially be teaming up with six months from now.

“The important thing about having the camp is guys like Sidney can get to meet the Jaromes and get more familiar with them, so when they get in that locker room in Vancouver they’ll be very comfortable and they’re not meeting their teammates for the first time,” said Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman.

Latest From ...