Ice Hockey Wiki
Steve Yzerman
Position Center
Shot Right
Nickname(s) The Captain
Stevie Y
Stevie Wonder
5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
185 lb (84 kg)
Teams Detroit Red Wings
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born (1965-05-09)May 9, 1965,
Cranbrook, BC, CAN
NHL Draft 4th overall, 1983
Detroit Red Wings
Pro Career 1983 – 2006

Stephen Gregory "Steve" Yzerman[1] (pronounced /ˈaɪzərmən/; born May 9, 1965) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey player, former general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League, and current general manager of the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League. Yzerman played his entire National Hockey League (NHL) career with the Detroit Red Wings and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.[2]

Prior to the 1986–87 season at the age of 21, Yzerman was named captain of the Red Wings and continuously served for the next two decades, retiring as the longest-serving captain of any team in North American major league sports history. Once voted to be the most popular athlete in Detroit sports history, locals often simply refer to Yzerman as "The Captain."[3] Yzerman led the Wings to five first-place regular season finishes and three Stanley Cup championships (1997, 1998 and 2002).

Steve with Detroit in 1986.

Yzerman won numerous awards during his career, including the Lester B. Pearson Award in 1989, the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 1998, the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward in 2000, and the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance in 2003. He was a ten-time NHL All-Star, a First Team All-Star in 2000, and a member of the All-Rookie Team in 1984.

On July 3, 2006, Yzerman officially retired, finishing his career ranked as the sixth all-time leading scorer in NHL history, having scored a career-high 155 points (65 goals/90 assists) in 1988-89 which has been bettered only by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Yzerman's jersey #19, was officially retired on January 2, 2007 during a pre-game ceremony at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. On November 4, 2008, he was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. He also became an honoured member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009, his first year of eligibility, inducted alongside 2001-02 Red Wing teammates Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille.[4]

On September 25, 2006, Yzerman was named as a Vice President of the Detroit Red Wings. He won a fourth Stanley Cup as the Vice President of Operations in 2007–08. He served as the team's Alternate Governor until he was hired away from the Red Wings to become the general manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning in May 2010.[5]

Yzerman has represented his country in several international tournaments as a member of Canada's national hockey team (Team Canada). In 2002, Yzerman won an Olympic gold medal, making him one of few players to win an Olympic gold medal and the Stanley Cup in the same year. Yzerman was the general manager of Team Canada for the 2007 IIHF World Championship which they won. Yzerman was appointed Executive Director of Team Canada on October 7, 2008, for the 2010 Winter Olympics.[6] Team Canada went on to win the gold medal by defeating Team USA.

Playing career

Early years

Yzerman was born in Cranbrook, British Columbia,[2] but grew up in Nepean, Ontario (a suburb of Ottawa, now a district in that city) where he attended Bell High School and played for his hometown Nepean Raiders Junior A hockey team. After one season with the Raiders, the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League drafted him, and he played center for the Petes from 1981 to 1983.

The 1983 NHL Entry Draft was the first for Mike Ilitch and Marian Ilitch, who had purchased the Detroit Red Wings in the summer of 1982. Jim Devellano, the Red Wings' then-general manager, wanted to draft Pat LaFontaine, who had grown up outside Detroit and played his junior hockey in the area; however, when the New York Islanders took LaFontaine third overall, Devellano settled on Yzerman, drafting him fourth.

Standing 5'11" and weighing just 160 pounds, the Red Wings were prepared to send Yzerman back to Peterborough for another year, but "after one (training camp) season, you knew he was a tremendous hockey player," said Ken Holland, the current Red Wings general manager who was a minor league goaltender for the Wings during Yzerman's rookie training camp.[7] Yzerman tallied 39 goals and 87 points in his rookie season, and finished second in Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) voting.[8] That season, Yzerman also became the youngest player in an All-Star Game at the age of 18.[9]

Becoming a leader

Following the departure of the previous captain, Danny Gare, after the 1985-86 season, then-coach Jacques Demers named Yzerman captain of the team on October 7, 1986, making him the youngest captain in the team's history.[10] Demers said he "wanted a guy with the Red Wings crest tattooed on his chest."[11] The next season, Yzerman led the Wings to their first division title in 23 years.

During the 1988–89 season Yzerman recorded 155 points (65 goals/90 assists), a total that only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux have surpassed. Yzerman finished third in regular season scoring behind Lemieux and Gretzky, won the Lester B. Pearson Award (MVP as voted by the NHLPA), and was a finalist for the Hart Trophy (MVP as voted by the NHL writers).

When Scotty Bowman took over as coach in 1993, Yzerman initially chafed under Bowman's stern coaching style. Bowman, for his part, felt that Yzerman wasn't concentrating enough on defense; Bowman had long expected his forwards to be good back-checkers as well. Relations between the two became so strained that at one point, the Red Wings seriously considered trading him to the Montreal Canadiens in 1994 in exchange for Mathieu Schneider and a 1st Round Draft Pick. However, Yzerman gradually became a better defender, and is now considered one of the best two-way forwards in the history of the game.[12]

In 1995, Yzerman led Detroit to its first Stanley Cup finals series since 1966, but the Red Wings were swept by the New Jersey Devils. Before the start of the 1995–96 NHL season, Yzerman's leadership was called into question and soon he had to deal with rumors that he was about to be traded to the Ottawa Senators, a deal that never materialized. Detroit finished the season with an NHL-record 62 regular season wins and were heavily favored to win the Stanley Cup. Yzerman scored perhaps the most memorable goal of his career in the 1996 playoffs, beating St. Louis Blues goalie Jon Casey with a slap shot from the blue line to win the Western Conference Semifinals in double overtime of Game 7.[13] However, the Red Wings fell short of their ultimate goal, losing in six games to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals.

The glory years

In 1997, Yzerman put to rest all doubts of his ability to lead a team to a championship as Detroit won its first Stanley Cup in 42 years by sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers. The following year Detroit repeated the feat, sweeping the Washington Capitals and winning their second consecutive Stanley Cup title. Yzerman earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. He handed the Cup first to wheelchair-using Vladimir Konstantinov, who had been severely injured in a car accident just six days after the Cup victory in 1997.

On November 26, 1999, Yzerman became the 11th player in NHL history to score 600 goals. In 2000, he made the NHL All-Star First Team and won the Frank J. Selke Trophy.

In 2001–02, Yzerman re-aggravated a knee injury, forcing him to miss 30 regular season games.[14] Yet, he still finished sixth in team scoring. Yzerman's knee greatly pained him during the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but this didn't stop him from leading the Red Wings from an early 2-0 deficit in their opening round series to defeat the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues en route to Detroit's sixth playoff series with the Colorado Avalanche to decide the Western Conference Championship. Detroit defeated Colorado in a seven game series and moved on to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes to win their 10th Stanley Cup championship in their history. Rather than raising the Stanley Cup first, Yzerman passed the Cup to coach Scotty Bowman, who announced his retirement following the game.

Late career

That fall, Yzerman underwent a knee realignment surgery known as an osteotomy, a procedure usually reserved for the elderly. He missed the first 66 games of the 2002–03 season, but got an assist in his first game back on February 27, 2003.

On May 1, 2004, Yzerman was hit in the eye by a deflected slapshot from the stick of teammate Matthieu Schneider in a playoff game against the Calgary Flames, breaking his orbital bone and scratching his cornea. He underwent eye surgery following the incident, and was sidelined for the rest of the 2004 post-season. The eye injury also forced Yzerman to miss the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Fellow Canadians Joe Thornton (then of the Boston Bruins) and Joe Sakic (Colorado Avalanche), who each wore the number 19 for their respective NHL clubs and who were now eligible to wear it for team Canada due to Yzerman's enforced absence, both refused the number out of respect for their injured countryman. Yzerman returned in the 2005–06 season, following the lockout, wearing a face shield.

On August 2, 2005, Yzerman signed a one-year deal with the Red Wings; this was his last contract signed as a player. On March 31, 2006 he scored his 691st NHL career goal, passing Mario Lemieux for 8th place all-time.[15] He scored his final NHL goal, the 692nd of his career, on April 3, 2006, in a game against the Calgary Flames.

Yzerman on the cover of Sports Illustrated's commemorative edition dedicated to him on July 14, 2006.

On July 3, 2006, Yzerman announced his retirement. Shortly afterwards Sports Illustrated published a special commemorative edition dedicated to Yzerman entitled "Yzerman: A Salute to Stevie Y" which featured Yzerman's first appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Yzerman currently holds the NHL record (19 seasons/20 years) as the longest serving captain of a single team.[16] In addition to being eighth all-time in regular-season goals and sixth in overall scoring, Yzerman finished his career seventh all-time in regular season assists, and eighth in all-time playoff scoring. He ranks second in nearly every significant offensive category in Red Wings history behind Gordie Howe except assists; Yzerman has 1,063 assists to Howe's 1,020. Only Howe (1,687 games) and Alex Delvecchio (1,550 games) played more games as a Red Wing than Yzerman's 1,514.

Front office

On September 25, 2006, the Red Wings named Yzerman a team vice president and alternate governor.

Yzerman's #19 banner hanging in Joe Louis Arena

On January 2, 2007, the Red Wings retired Yzerman's jersey #19, before a game against the Anaheim Ducks. As an additional honor the captain's "C" was added to the corner of his banner to forever commemorate him as "The Captain". The official retirement ceremony was hosted by Yzerman's long-time friend, former NHL goalie and ESPN hockey analyst Darren Pang and featured such Red Wing luminaries as Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio (the three still-living Red Wings players to have their uniform numbers retired by the team), and Scotty Bowman. For the ceremony, the active Red Wings players wore Yzerman throwback jerseys representing the Red Wings, Team Canada (Canada won gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games), the Campbell Conference All-Star team and the Peterborough Petes. Former teammate Vladimir Konstantinov attended the ceremony, walking across the ice for the first time without a wheelchair since his last game in the 1997 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

On January 30, 2007, Hockey Canada named Yzerman the general manager of Team Canada for the 2007 IIHF World Championship in Moscow (April 27-May 13), where they beat Finland with a score of 4-2 on Sunday May 13 to win the Championship. Yzerman is one of the most powerful figures in Red Wings history and NHL history, and is considered a hero outside hockey as well. On January 2, 2007, Yzerman was presented the key to the city of Detroit by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at a luncheon prior to the jersey retirement ceremony. On January 13, 2007, Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm (incidentally another Canadian-American) visited Detroit and the Joe Louis Arena and proclaimed the day as "Steve Yzerman Day” in the state of Michigan. On January 11, 2008, when the Red Wings visited Ottawa to play the Senators, Yzerman was inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame.[17] Yzerman received another honor when he was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame on February 11, 2008. Yzerman was voted as the NHL's greatest captain by the fans in the 2008–09 season.

On June 23, 2009, it was announced that Yzerman will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was honored during the November 6–9 induction weekend alongside his former Red Wings teammates Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille, as well as Brian Leetch.[18]

Vancouver 2010 Olympics

In 2009, he was named Executive Director for the Canadian men's hockey team at the 2010 Winter Olympics. The Canadian team he put together went on the win the gold, the first gold won by a home team in ice hockey since the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team. Yzerman said he would consider coming back as head of the Canadian team in 2014. Yzerman went on saying that “I loved it, but it was very stressful. Given the chance to represent Canada and be the guy in charge, if somebody offered it to me, I didn't hesitate the first time, I wouldn't hesitate again."[19] This experience would eventually lead to Yzerman leaving the Red Wings to take the Lightning GM job in May 2010.

Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager

On May 25, 2010, it was reported that Yzerman would be introduced as the vice-president & general manager of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning[20] under new Owner Jeffrey Vinik. In the off-season and early in his new reign he re-signed Martin St. Louis, signed defenceman Pavel Kubina for his second tenure with the team, signed top free agent goaltender Dan Ellis to a 2-year contract, signed defenceman Brett Clark, and brought in left-winger Simon Gagné in a trade that saw Matt Walker and a fourth-round pick in 2011 depart Tampa Bay.[21]. In the 2017–18 season, the Lightning finished in first place in the Atlantic Division and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Washington Capitals. On September 11, 2018, with one year remaining on his contract, Yzerman announced that he would be resigning as the Lightning general manager but would remain with the team as advisor to team owner and governor Jeffrey Vinik, a post he held until his return to Detroit in 2019. Yzerman was succeeded by Lightning assistant general manager Julien BriseBois.

Detroit Red Wings General Manager

Yzerman had expressed his desire to run a team while with the Red Wings front office since the latter part of his playing career, and had gained experience in running a team through his work with Hockey Canada, having assembled several rosters between 2007 and 2010 for Hockey Canada.[32] However, after Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, the team's GM since 1997, was given a contract extension to continue in his role, and with his path to GM also blocked by assistant general manager Jim Nill, who himself had been given another long-term contract, it became clear that it would not be with the Red Wings. It was later revealed by The Detroit News in 2016 that Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch attempted to promote Holland to make room for Yzerman to become the team's general manager, but Holland declined the promotion.

On April 19, 2019, Yzerman was named executive vice president and general manager of the Red Wings. Ken Holland was retained by the organization and promoted to the team's senior vice president.

Personal life

Yzerman and his wife Lisa Brennan (born 17 June 1965) were married on June 10, 1989, and have three daughters, Isabella Katherine (born 23 February 1994), Maria Charlotte (born 21 April 1998), and Sophia Rose (born 14 May 1999). They reside in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Yzerman has acquired naturalized United States' citizenship, due to his many years of residence in Michigan.[22]

Not far from where Steve Yzerman grew up, the Nepean Sportsplex named one of its indoor ice surfaces the Steve Yzerman Arena in 1997 in his honour. This is the home rink of the CJHL's Nepean Raiders, the Tier II Junior "A" team Yzerman played on during the 1980–81 season. The Raiders currently play in the Yzerman Division.

The CJHL divisions have been renamed the Robinson and Yzerman divisions after two of its most prominent alumni, Yzerman and Larry Robinson.

Yzerman's feature has been included on the tickets for the Ice hockey events at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He also is the person for the ice hockey pictogram at those same games.

Awards and achievements

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1981–82 Peterborough Petes OHL 58 21 43 64 65 6 0 1 1 16
1982–83 Peterborough Petes OHL 56 42 49 91 65 4 1 4 5 0
1983–84 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 39 48 87 33 4 3 3 6 0
1984–85 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 30 59 89 58 3 2 1 3 2
1985–86 Detroit Red Wings NHL 51 14 28 42 16
1986–87 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 31 59 90 43 16 5 13 18 8
1987–88 Detroit Red Wings NHL 64 50 52 102 44 3 1 3 4 6
1988–89 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 65 90 155 61 6 5 5 10 2
1989–90 Detroit Red Wings NHL 79 62 65 127 79
1990–91 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 51 57 108 34 7 3 3 6 4
1991–92 Detroit Red Wings NHL 79 45 58 103 64 11 3 5 8 12
1992–93 Detroit Red Wings NHL 84 58 79 137 44 7 4 3 7 4
1993–94 Detroit Red Wings NHL 58 24 58 82 36 3 1 3 4 0
1994–95 Detroit Red Wings NHL 47 12 26 38 40 15 4 8 12 0
1995–96 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 36 59 95 64 18 8 12 20 4
1996–97* Detroit Red Wings NHL 81 22 63 85 78 20 7 6 13 4
1997–98* Detroit Red Wings NHL 75 24 45 69 46 22 6 18 24 22
1998–99 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 29 45 74 42 10 9 4 13 0
1999–00 Detroit Red Wings NHL 78 35 44 79 34 8 0 4 4 0
2000–01 Detroit Red Wings NHL 54 18 34 52 18 1 0 0 0 0
2001–02* Detroit Red Wings NHL 52 13 35 48 18 23 6 17 23 10
2002–03 Detroit Red Wings NHL 16 2 6 8 8 4 0 1 1 2
2003–04 Detroit Red Wings NHL 75 18 33 51 46 11 3 2 5 0
2004–05 Detroit Red Wings NHL season not played due to 2004–05 NHL lockout
2005–06 Detroit Red Wings NHL 61 14 20 34 18 4 0 4 4 4
OHL totals 114 63 92 155 130 10 1 5 6 16
NHL totals 1514 692 1063 1755 924 196 70 115 185 84
  • = Stanley Cup Winner

International play

Medal record
Competitor for Flag of Canada Canada
Men's ice hockey
Olympic Games
Gold 2002 Salt Lake City Ice Hockey
World Championships
Silver 1985 Czechoslovakia Ice hockey
Silver 1989 Sweden Ice hockey
Canada Cup
Gold 1984 Canada Ice hockey
World Junior Championships
Bronze 1983 Soviet Union Ice hockey

Played for Canada in:

International statistics

Year Team Event   GP G A P PIM
1983 Canada WJC 7 2 3 5 2
1984 Canada CC 4 0 0 0 0
1985 Canada WC 10 3 4 7 6
1989 Canada WC 8 5 7 12 2
1990 Canada WC 10 10 10 20 8
1996 Canada WCH 6 2 1 3 0
1998 Canada Oly. 6 1 1 2 10
2002 Canada Oly. 6 2 4 6 2
Junior int'l totals 7 2 3 5 2
Senior int'l totals 50 23 27 50 28

Yzerman was considered a leading candidate for the captaincy of Team Canada in 1998, along with Wayne Gretzky and Ray Bourque. Yzerman had led the Detroit Red Wings to the Stanley Cup during the previous season and he was one of the longest serving team captains. However, General Manager Bobby Clarke instead selected Eric Lindros.

In late 2005, after Yzerman ruled himself out of a third Olympic appearance, Wayne Gretzky announced that no one would be allowed to wear jersey #19 for Team Canada for the 2006 Olympics, in Yzerman's honor.


  1. ESPN - Steve Yzerman Stats, News, Photos - Detroit Red Wings
  2. 2.0 2.1 Steve Yzerman – Stats. National Hockey League.
  3. Detroit Free Press (2006). The Captain: Steve Yzerman: 22 Seasons, 3 Cups, 1 Team. Triumph Books (IL). 
  4. [1]
  5. Red Wings bring Yzerman into front office. Retrieved on 2006-09-25.
  7. Free Press staff, "The Captain: 22 Seasons, 3 Cups, 1 Team," page 15. Detroit Free Press, 2006
  8. Shelley Lazarus, "Hockeytown Hero: The Steve Yzerman Story." appendix pages xiii and xv. Proctor Publications, 2000
  9. Never again? Liut pitched an All-Star shutout. Retrieved on 2008-08-11.
  10. Detroit Free Press (2006). "Captain, My Captain", The Captain. Detroit Free Press, 25. ISBN 978-1572439351. “Red Wings coach Jacques Demers named Steve Yzerman team captain on October 7, 1986.” 
  11., Wings Of Legend: Steve Yzerman
  12. Duhatschek, Eric et al. (2001). Hockey Chronicles. New York City: Checkmark Books. ISBN 0816046972. 
  13. Steve Yzerman scores in 2nd OT! at YouTube
  14. The Detroit Red Wings, "The Detroit Red Wings 2005-06 Media Guide", page 86, The Detroit Blue Wings, 2005
  15. Yzerman played his last professional hockey game on May 1, 2006, a loss to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 6 of the first round of the playoffs. "Yzerman passes Lemieux on goals list", CBC Sports, 2006-03-31. Retrieved on 2006-08-06. 
  16. Free Press staff, "The Captain: 22 Seasons, 3 Cups, 1 Team.", page 11. Detroit Free Press, 2006
  17. 17.0 17.1 Yzerman at home in Hall. Ottawa Senators (January 9, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-01-11.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Hockey Hall of Fame Announces 2009 Inductees. Legends of Hockey. Hockey Hall of Fame (2009-06-23). Retrieved on 2009-06-23.
  19. Chris Stevenson. "Yzerman may return in 2014", Toronto Sun, 1 March 2010. Retrieved on 2010-03-03. 
  20. ESPN: Steve Yzerman to be named GM. Retrieved on 2010-05-25.
  21. Pupello, Peter (2010-07-20). Gagne Acquisition Helps Bolts in the Short Term, Gives Yzerman More Long Term Flexibility. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
  22. Cole, Cam (2009-02-12). Yzerman on Canada's prospects in 2010. The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  23. 2008 MICHIGAN SPORTS HALL OF FAME: Steve Yzerman warmly inducted into Hall | | Detroit Free Press
  24. Yzerman, Lewis among Canada's Sports Hall of Fame inductees. The Sports Network (2008-05-13). Retrieved on 2008-05-13.

External links

Detroit Red Wings Captains
Aurie | Lewis | Goodfellow | Young | S. Howe | Abel | Bruneteau | Hollett | Lindsay | Kelly | G. Howe | Delvecchio | Libett | Berenson | Bergman | Harris | Redmond | Johnston | Dionne | Grant | Harper | Polonich | Maloney | Hextall | Woods | McCourt | Thompson | Larson | Gare | Yzerman | Lidström | Zetterberg

Detroit Red Wings first-round draft picks
MahovlichGauthierForgieAtkinsonBarkwellAndrascikRutherfordLajeunesseDionneRichardsonLocheadR. LapointeWilliamsMcCourtHuberFolignoBlaisdellCravenYzermanBurrFedykMurphyRacineKocurSillingerPrimeauM. LapointeBowenErikssonGolubovskyKuznetsovWallinFischerKronwallKindlSmith