Varsity 1st Team
Joined: July 26th, 2006, 1:51 am
Red Wings To Retire Yzerman's Number
DETROIT -- Steve Yzerman, whose play and leadership lifted the Detroit Red Wings from league laughingstocks to NHL champions, will have his number retired by the team.
In a pregame ceremony Jan. 2, 2007, Yzerman's No. 19 will be raised to the rafters of Joe Louis Arena, where it will join hockey immortals such as Gordie Howe and Terry Sawchuk.
Yzerman announced his retirement in July, ending a 23-year career, all with the Red Wings.
"For a long time, there was no doubt in ownership's mind that Steve Yzerman would play his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings and that his sweater would fittingly go up into the rafters along with the other all-time greatest Red Wing players," senior vice president Jim Devellano said.
"As to picking a date, we wanted to be sure that this will be a very special evening and with that, it takes a lot of planning," he said.
Yzerman will be the sixth member of the Red Wings to have his number retired, joining Sawchuk (No. 1), Ted Lindsay (No. 7), Howe (No. 9), Alex Delvecchio (No. 10) and Sid Abel (No. 12).
The ceremony will precede Detroit's game against Anaheim and last approximately one hour. Yzerman was captain of the Red Wings for 20 years, assuming the role as a 21-year-old in 1986. He led the team to three Stanley Cups, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1998.
A 10-time All-Star center and 2002 Olympic gold medalist with Canada, Yzerman had 692 goals and 1,063 assists in 1,514 contests. His 1,755 points rank sixth in NHL annals and are the most any player has had with just one team.
Yzerman was the third piece of the puzzle in restoring "Hockeytown." The Red Wings were mired in a stretch of six years of missing the playoffs when pizza moguls Mike and Marian Ilitch bought the team in 1982.
The Ilitches appointed Devellano general manager shortly thereafter. Devellano's first draft pick as GM was used on Yzerman in 1983.
With Yzerman leading the way, the Red Wings won Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998 and 2002. In 196 postseason games, he ranks eighth all-time in playoff scoring with 185 points, including 70 goals.
Yzerman also won the Frank J. Selke Trophy for best defensive forward in 2000 and the Bill Masterson Trophy for perseverance in 2002.