Steve Yzerman at the Alumni Game during Winter Classic Weekend in Detroit.
Photo: Getty Images
By Dory LeBlanc
Steve Yzerman is one of the most respected men in hockey; he is also one of the most decorated.
During his 23-year career with the Detroit Red Wings, he became the longest-serving captain in NHL history, wearing the "C" on his sweater from 1986 until his retirement 20 years later.
During his NHL playing career, Yzerman led Detroit to five first-place Division Titles and hoisted the Stanley Cup three times.
"The Captain," which Yzerman will forever be known as in Detroit and around the league, won many personal accolades along the way, including being named a member of the 1984 All-Rookie team, and winning the Lester B. Pearson Award (Most outstanding player) for the 1988–89 season, the Conn Smythe Trophy (Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs) in 1998, the Selke Trophy (the league's best defensive forward) in 2000, and the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance in 2003. He was a ten-time All-Star, and a First-Team All-Star in 2000.
After his retirement in July 2006, Yzerman was named Vice President of the Red Wings two months later and his No. 19 jersey was officially retired the following January, when it was hung from the rafters at Joe Louis Arena.
As a member of the Red Wings' front office, Yzerman won a fourth Stanley Cup in 2007-08. Later that fall, he was elected to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and in his first year of eligibility in 2009, Yzerman was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
But Yzerman's contributions to hockey were not just limited to his NHL career.
As an international player from age 17, Yzerman represented Team Canada brilliantly. At 19, Yzerman made Canada's roster for the 1984 Canada Cup and played in three World Championships over the next six years. In 1990, Yzerman led the tournament in assists (10) and points (19) - his last World Championship as the Detroit made the playoffs each of the next 15 seasons he played.
In 2002, Canada's national hockey team won the gold medal at the Salt Lake City Olympics, becoming one of only a few players to win both the Stanley Cup and a gold medal in the same year.
As general manager of Canadian National Men's Hockey Team for the 2007 IIHF World Championship, Team Canada walked away as tournament champions. Yzerman was then appointed Executive Director of Team Canada in 2008 for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver; Team Canada went on to win the gold medal by defeating Team USA in Yzerman's native British Columbia. In a cermony on March 5, 2012, Yzerman was named Executive Director of Team Canada for the upcoming Sochi Games in February.
The Lightning's Vice President and General Manager can add one more honor to his impressive resume: International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame Inductee.
During the 2014 IIHF World Championships in Belarus, Yzerman, along with former Red Wing teammate Niklas Lidstrom of Sweden, Russian teammates Vyacheslav Bykov and Andrei Khomutov, Belarus' Ruslan Salei, who was a member of the KHL club Lokomotiv who perished in a 2011 airplane crash, and builder Murray Costello will be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame. Dr. Mark Aubry will receive the Paul Loicq Award for his contributions to international hockey.
Click HERE to read more on each inductee's international contributions from NHL.com.