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Yzerman eyes the all-round player

For 48 years from 1920 to 1968, Canada dominated ice hockey at the Winter Olympics, winning gold six times and failing to earn a medal just once. But a dispute over pros competing in the Games kept Canada out entirely in 1972 and '76. NHL players were finally allowed in the 1998 Games, the same year women's hockey became an Olympic event. In 2002 Canada was back on top as both men and women won our first gold medals for hockey since 1952.

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As Team Canada's general manager, it's up to Steve Yzerman to select the hockey players who will represent Canada at the 2010 Olympics. The former Red Wings superstar is clear on the type of athlete he's looking for: "More than just goals and assists," he begins. "I think the best players aren't necessarily the leading scorers." In this interview on CBC-TV's The Hour, the man they call Stevie Y - who is about to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame - also describes the best practical joke ever played on him.
• Steve Gregory Yzerman was born May 9, 1965 in Cranbrook, B.C. but grew up in Nepean, Ont.

• At 16, Yzerman started his junior career with the Peterborough Petes of the O.H.L. (Ontario Hockey League). Petes coach Dick Todd emphasized team play over individual performance. Years later he said even back then Yzerman was an unselfish two-way player.

• Former NHL goalie Darren Pang was a teammate of Yzerman's with the 1980-81 Neapean Raiders of the Central Junior A Hockey League. According to the Detroit News, Pang said Yzerman was "always a year or two ahead of his age" and called him "very even-keeled, extraordinarily mature and a very quiet leader." Pang added that when the game was on the line Yzerman was "the best player on the ice."

• Legendary coach Scotty Bowman, Yzerman's bench boss in Detroit from 1993 to 2002, called his captain "one of the most ultra-competitive guys that I ever had play for me."

• Yzerman was selected fourth overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1983 NHL entry draft, behind Brian Lawton, Sylvain Turgeon and Pat LaFontaine. He would play in his first All-Star game that season, becoming the youngest player to play in the All-Star Game.

• In 1986, 21-year-old Yzerman was named the Wings' captain, becoming the youngest player to ever earn that honour. When he retired at the end of the 2005-06 season, he was the longest serving captain in league history.

• In 22 seasons, all with the Detroit Red Wings, Yzerman compiled 1755 points on 692 goals and 1,063 assists. As of Oct. 1, 2009, he was sixth on the list of the NHL's all-time leading scorers. He was the captain on three Stanley Cup-winning Detroit teams (1996-97, 1997-98, 2001-02).

• Yzerman confirmed his retirement in July 2006 and was immediately named the Wing's Vice President. Less than two years later Detroit won its fourth Stanley Cup in 11 years.

• Internationally, Yzerman was part of Canada's bronze medal-winning team at the 1983 World Junior Championships. He played on the 1984's Canada Cup championship-winning team, but his ice time was limited due to recurring tonsillitis. Yzerman played a big role for Team Canada in the 1996 Canada Cup, though the Canadians eventually lost to the U.S. In 2002, he was an assistant captain on Canada's gold medal-winning team at the Salt Lake City Olympics. Yzerman became General Manager of Team Canada for the 2007 and 2008 World Championships. The Canadians were 17-1 in those two tournaments and won a gold and a silver medal. In October 2008 Yzerman was named the executive director of Canada's 2010 Winter Olympic hockey team. The Canadian team won gold at those Games.

• In November 2009, Yzerman was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame alongside his 2001-02 Red Wings teammates Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille, as well as Brian Leetch. He is also a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

Medium: Television
Program: The Hour
Broadcast Date: Oct. 7, 2009
Guest(s): Steve Yzerman
Host: George Stroumboulopoulos
Duration: 10:21

Last updated: February 10, 2014

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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