Inducted in 2008
Finished among the NHL’s all-time leaders with 692 goals, 1,063 assists and 1,755 points
Was the longest serving captain of an NHL team, leading the Detroit Red Wings for 19 seasons
Three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings
Olympic Gold as a member of Team Canada at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games
Inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame
General Manager of Canada’s Gold Medal-winning team at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games
Driving the Zamboni may well be the only thing Steve Yzerman didn't excel at during his 22 years on National Hockey League ice. If he'd tried it, he probably would have made his mark on that activity, too. Few players have achieved the standards of excellence, respect, and longevity enjoyed by Yzerman in an NHL career that began when the Detroit Red Wings selected the Peterborough Petes' centre fourth overall in the 1983 draft. There are several ways to assess a career and Yzerman's was an unqualified success on many fronts. Yzerman, born in Cranbrook, B.C., and raised in Nepean, Ont., led the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup victories and helped Team Canada win Olympic gold in 2002. Yet these are but the most obvious highlights on the resume of a man who inspired a team, a city and hockey fans everywhere. Excellence? When Yzerman announced his retirement in July, 2006 he was recognized as one of the most prolific players in the history of the game. His 692 goals rank him eighth on the NHL all-time scorers list; he sits seventh with his 1,063 assists; the total 1,755 points rank him sixth. He also holds the Red Wings club record for most goals (65) and assists (90) in a season, and shares with venerable Gordie Howe, 18 career hat tricks. Respect? Yzerman, a 10-time all-star, was also honoured with four major NHL awards: The 1989 Lester B. Pearson Award (NHLPA Player of the Year); the 1998 Conn Smyth Trophy (Playoff MVP); the 2000 Frank J. Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward) and the 2003 Bill Masterton Trophy (Perseverance). Longevity? Yzerman is the longest serving captain of an NHL team, leading the Red Wings for 19 seasons beginning at age 21 in 1986. He also played 1,456 games as team captain, another NHL record. But success is more than just numbers or names on a trophy. Yzerman was a remarkable leader, a man of few words who led by example, whose achievements were punctuated by considerable humility. An offensive force early in his career, Yzerman later developed into one of the best two-way players in the game. He was often the player who came through when his team needed the big goal in the big game. Yzerman's No. 19 jersey was retired to the rafters of Joe Louis Arena in 2007 - a lasting tribute to a Canadian who gave his best to the Motor City, his team, his country and to his game. (Written by Wendy Long. Wendy is currently a freelance writer based in North Delta, B.C. and is the author of the book Celebrating Excellence: Canadian Women Athletes).