Nova Scotia's beloved Sidney Crosby may not be as popular as we once thought. The hockey superstar recently ranked number six in a U.S.-based website list of 50 Most Hated People in Sports.

"He's had to deal with that since he was a young fellow coming up through minor hockey and major midget," says former midget head coach Brad Crossley.

The Cole Harbour native is hockey's main attraction and while he is adored in Pittsburgh, where he is the captain of the Penguins, and also here in the Maritimes, his approval rating dips in other parts of North America.

"Sometimes he brings it on himself, but I don't think he should be considered one of the worst. That's totally ridiculous," says Crossley.

"He's a hard-working player who never gives up on the puck," says Crosby fan Ozzie King.

It would seem his competitive edge is the number one reason number 87 sits at number six on the website's list of most hated people in sports.

Crosby landed higher up the list than Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, but a fair distance from Floyd Mayweather, who ranked number one.

"Unfortunately some people dislike a winner," says Crossley.

Prior to his injury, his touch was pure Midas. In 2009 Crosby won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins and in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics he scored the "golden goal." However, when something doesn't go his way, he rarely hides his displeasure.

"Sometimes it's bad calls, so it's OK to be like that," says King.

When it comes to rough play, Crosby is known to challenge opponents and play on the edge. These scenarios can cause hard feelings, but his former coach says what is great about Crosby heavily outweighs the perceived bad.

"You won't find a cleaner athlete off the ice. He's a student of the game. He does things modestly," says Crossley.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth