In May of 2010, the Red Wings legend left the Detroit Red Wings for the first time in his professional career to take over as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He served as GM until September of 2018. Steve Yzerman stepped down and took an advisor position with the team. Now, he’s chosen to return to the Red Wings.
The Detroit Red Wings are a team in dire need of a little TLC. The Red Wings not that long ago seemed to be an inevitable postseason competitor has become somewhat of a season to season afterthought. The flame that once lit underneath GM Ken Holland has seemingly died off and the team is looking for life.
Yzerman’s Playing Career
But fear not Wings fans, that life may have arrived in the form of a beloved figure in Motor-City. Steve Yzerman, a man who played 1514 regular season games as a Red Wing and 196 playoff games, will return to Detroit as GM. Throughout his playing career as a member of the Red Wings, he was part of three Stanley Cup winning teams. Two of those three were back to backs (1997 and 1998). Yzerman won the Conn Smythe award for his work throughout the 1998 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
To boost his popularity in Detroit, he was not only their longest-serving captain, but he was the longest-serving in league history as he served 19 seasons as team captain.
On Jan 2, 2007, the Red Wings retired the number 19 in honour of the great playing career he had.
Retiring & Front Office Career
However, Yzerman’s life with hockey was far from over. Post-playing career, he went on to show that he has a phenomenal hockey mind. On July 3, 2006, he retired from playing.
A few months later, on Sept. 25, 2006, he was named a team VP and alternate governor to the Detroit Red Wings. In that position, he would see another Stanley Cup championship in 2008 followed by another trip to the final in 2009 where they were defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins (whom they beat just the year prior).
With a desire for more responsibility, Yzerman was offered a job as VP and GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning and on May 25, 2010, he was introduced as such. Through his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, they would go to a Stanley Cup Final in 2015 (lost to the Chicago Blackhawks) and in the 2017-18 season, they placed first in the Atlantic Division. In the year 2015, he was rewarded for his work as a GM as he was named the 2014-15 GM of the year for getting the Bolts from missing the playoffs to the promise land of the Stanley Cup Final.
Yzerman’s office work is not limited to the NHL as he has spent a significant amount of time with operations of Team Canada. He was the GM of Canada for the 2007 IIHF World Championships, in which the team won. He was also named executive director for Canada’s Men’s Hockey Team for the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games, both tournaments saw Canada win Gold. In 2014, Yzerman was awarded the Order of Hockey in Canada. The award recognizes players, coaches and office staff for their contributions to the game of hockey.
Returning to Detroit
And now, after a little while away, it seems that Yzerman will be returning to where he played out his entire playing career. The Red Wings and their fans have gone through a tough few seasons and the excitement of this announcement has given the Wings base some life. There will be a rebuild, it will most likely take a year or two before the Red Wings see postseason action again. However, given the track record of Yzerman, he will give the Wings the tools they will need to get back to where this franchise once was. Postseason bound more times than not.
BREAKING: The Red Wings will introduce Steve Yzerman as their new GM this afternoon, Ken Holland to remain as Sr Vice President. https://t.co/21BaPpS6s2
— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) April 19, 2019
Stats and awards: NHL.com and Hockey-Reference.com
Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals