The long-awaited National Hockey League season should begin in just over a week. That is good news for hockey fans, but even better news for Cole Harbour’s Sidney Crosby.

Crosby is itching to get back on the ice and for a chance to return to his old form, following several years beset by injury and work stoppage.

Crosby often comes back to Nova Scotia during the off-season to train and his training assistant Gaetan Tremblay is almost always close by.

"I manage his equipment. I take care of the security around him. If he needs help in the off-ice, I go in with him and help him out. Whatever he needs done," says Tremblay.

Tremblay helped out with Crosby’s condition over the duration of the lockout.

"Sidney is the hardest working hockey player I've seen.”

He says Crosby’s approach to fitness involves the same intensity that he brings to the Pittsburgh Penguins on a daily basis.

"If it's competitive, I think Sidney is going to excel at it. He loves the competitiveness of anything," says Tremblay. "He takes the little things that people don't think of and he fixes them and makes them work."

According to Tremblay, number 87 never lets up. When Crosby works out during the off season, it’s not just a hobby; it's a full-time commitment.

"In the off-season, it's about six hours a day by the time he gets on the ice and he gets off," says Tremblay.

There have been whispers that the lockout has caused some NHL players to fall out of shape, but Tremblay says Crosby should not be included on that list.

"When he gets back on the ice, the fans are going to see the best from him," he says.

If that’s the case, it couldn’t be better timing for a league looking to win back its fans.

"He's the face of the NHL,” says sports marketing executive Kevin Cameron.

“He's going to also play a huge role in bringing fans back to the game."

With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth