1 of 12 | Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby raises the Stanley Cup to show the fans along the parade route, celebrating back to back Stanley Cup victory in Pittsburgh on June 14, 2017. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
Sidney Crosby has seen it all during his decorated hockey career, but the "Face of the NHL" was blown away by the estimated 650,000 faces staring back at him Wednesday.
Crosby should be used to it by now, as the Penguins captain reveled in the moment as the City of Pittsburgh honored the team after it repeated as Stanley Cup champion following Sunday's 2-0 win in Game 6 against the Nashville Predators.
"Look at this scene. This is what it's all about," said Crosby, who joined his teammates riding in pickup trucks, convertible cars and buses in a parade that began on Grand Street and ended at Point State Park.
"We worked all year to get to this point. Thanks for your support. We couldn't do it without you. That Game 5 (a 6-0 home win by Pittsburgh) is something I think we'll all remember. Thanks for showing up today, and let's try to do this again next year."
Crosby did his part to play a gracious host to the masses. The two-time reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner occasionally jumped out of his vehicle to give fans a close look at the Stanley Cup and allow them to take pictures.
The Penguins, who captured their second straight Stanley Cup championship and fifth in franchise history, became the first team to repeat as champion since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.
The Steel City is no stranger to championship parades of late, as Wednesday's festivities accounted for the fifth such sports-related event in Pittsburgh in the past dozen years. The NFL's Steelers celebrated Super Bowl victories in the 2005 and 2008 seasons while the Penguins have won titles in 2009, 2016 and 2017.
"I remember it last year, and it was the best part of winning the Cup," said Patric Hornqvist, who scored the Cup-clinching goal with just 1:35 remaining in a scoreless Game 6 against his former team. "And the same thing this year.
"This is something you're never going to forget."
The City of Pittsburgh saw an estimated 400,000 fans attend last year's championship parade.
Coach Mike Sullivan also reveled in the moment before casting an eye toward the future.
"This team's been through a lot, and you guys (the fans) have been there every step of the way," Sullivan said. "I said a little something last year and saying if we could do this again ... I wonder if we could repeat, or three-peat, should I say."