Longtime Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman announced his retirement at Joe Louis Arena on Monday, ending a 22-season career spent entirely with the Red Wings.
At a press conference attended by Red Wings greats including Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay, Yzerman calmly said, “I’ve decided to retire… Hang up my skates.”
Drafted by the Red Wings with the fourth overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, Yzerman was named captain of the team after just three seasons, making the 21-year-old the youngest team captain in NHL history to that point. At his retirement, he was the longest-serving captain in NHL history.
Yzerman said that his plan throughout the 2005-06 season was to retire at the end of the year but that Ken Holland tried to get him to return.
“[He] almost had me convinced that I was coming back this year.”
Throughout the 1980s, Yzerman consistantly ranked with Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in scoring. He changed his game to embrace a more defensive style in the 1990s, adding to his arsenal the tools needed to lead the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup.
The Yzerman-led Red Wings claimed Stanley Cup Championships in 1997, 1998 and 2002. Yzerman was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after the 1998 run.
In 2002, Yzerman earned an Olympic gold medal skating with Team Canada at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.