Hockey Canada announced on Saturday that Steve Yzerman has been named executive director of Canada's National Men's Olympic Hockey Team for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
"I am truly honoured and privileged to take on the role of executive director for Hockey Canada going into 2010," said Yzerman in a statement on Saturday. "I am also very excited about the group that we have in place, a group that has great experience at both the professional and international level. With support from Bob Nicholson, Johnny Misley and the Hockey Canada team, I know that we have the right mix in place to assemble a team that will make all Canadians proud in 2010."
Yzerman, vice-president of the Detroit Red Wings, will be making his third appearance as a member of management with Team Canada. Yzerman was Canada's general manager at the past two World Championships, leading the team to gold in 2007 and silver in 2008.
"My message to Canadians is that I understand completely what the expectations of this team are," Yzerman said. "I understand what the goal is. Each and every one of us up here .. all fully understand the expectations. We understand the passion that all Canadians have and we share in that passion, we're one in the same.
"Our goals are no different than yours. We understand that a gold medal is the expectation and we're prepared for that."
Yzerman represented Canada on eight occasions as a player, including at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games when he helped Canada win its first Olympic gold medal in men's hockey in 50 years.
"Hockey Canada is going to Vancouver to make all Canadians proud in 2010 and Steve is just the person to lead us," said Hockey Canada president and CEO Bob Nicholson in a statement. "Steve is well respected throughout the hockey world for good reason. He has served this country whenever called upon and we are thrilled that he will be leading our Men's Olympic Team in 2010."
Yzerman will work with Nicholson and Johnny Misley, Hockey Canada's executive vice-president of hockey operations, along with a management staff, in putting together Canada's team.
Yzerman also announced his management staff, which includes associate directors Ken Holland, and Kevin Lowe and Doug Armstrong.
Armstrong, assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues, was Canada's assistant general manager at the 2008 IIHF World Championship in Halifax and Quebec City. He also served as special advisor to Yzerman at the 2007 IIHF World Championship and assistant general manager for Canada at the 2002 IIHF World Championship.
Holland, executive vice-president and general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, was Canada's GM at the 2006 World Championship and Canada's assistant general manager at the 2005 IIHF World Championship.
Lowe, president of hockey operations for the Edmonton Oilers, was Canada's assistant executive director at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, 2004 World Cup of Hockey and 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
Yzerman also announced that Wayne Gretzky will serve as advisor to the executive director. Gretzky, head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, was Canada's executive director for the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Winter Games, as well as the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 2001 World Championship. Gretzky realizes that Yzerman will have a tough task ahead of him.
"It's a tough situation because there's so many good teams now," Gretzky told reporters prior to the Coyotes game with the Canadiens. "There's six teams now that could probably win a gold medal if their goaltender plays at the level he's capable of.
"It's a pressure situation, but they'll have a good team and they'll pick a good coaching staff and they have good leadership from players like (Vincent) Lecavalier and (Sidney) Crosby and guys like that. So we should be fine."