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After back-to-back golds, Yzerman steps down

Feb 23, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 7: Executive director Steve Yzerman announces the Roster of the Canadian Men's Olympic Hockey team at the Mastercard Centre ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics January 7, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Getty Images

Steve Yzerman took one of the highest pressure jobs in Canada as the executive director of the Canadian men’s Olympic ice hockey team. For Canadians, the only acceptable outcome is a gold medal, but given the fierce competition from countries like Russia, Sweden, Finland, and the United States, Canada’s success was far from guaranteed.

All the same, he found a way to do just that, assembling back-to-back gold medal winning teams for the first time in Canadian history since the 1948 and 1952 games. Now, he’s ready to step down.

“Time to move on,” Yzerman said, smiling, per TSN and ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

Every decision Yzerman made along the way was fiercely scrutinized. With so many worthy candidates to chose from, any roster he constructed was inevitably criticized by both the fans and his peers.

It was just a few weeks ago that Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider accused Yzerman of playing politics by putting Martin St. Louis on the team as Steven Stamkos‘ replacement over Claude Giroux.

“Anybody that thinks that Claude Giroux doesn’t belong on the Canadian Olympic team, they don’t know anything about hockey,” Snider said.

Giroux certainly wasn’t the only great player to be left off the roster, but the teams Yzerman constructed meshed well and, most importantly, won together.

He could not possibly do more than meet the nations expectations, but the fact that he pulled it off is remarkable.

  1. gregman98 - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    Totally respect Stevie Y’s decision.

    He did the best possible job asked of him, under intense pressure.

  2. angrytwitterguy - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    Yzerman has forgotten more about hockey than Ed Snider has ever known or will ever know

    • dirt2013 - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:18 PM

      Yes but Ed owns a team and his vote means more.

  3. bucrightoff - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    I think Stevie Y has shown the world, and Ed Snider, that he knows a thing or two about hockey.

  4. joey4id - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    Mr. Y, all of Canada has the utmost respect for you, and appreciate the job you have done. Today even those who disagree with your anti-fighting stance are on your side.

    Thank you for your integrity and wisdom. You were a great NHL player, a great TC representative on and off the ice, and you will undoubtedly go down as one of the best hockey management person to ever be in the NHL. I hope that one day you will return to the Wings.

    Cheers!

  5. canucks30 - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    I’d go with Sakic next (assuming NHL players still participate).

  6. timmons94 - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Yes giroux is great. But my goodness who u take off in his place.. Throw in taveras getting hurt and no stamkos. Canada is a machine

  7. nothanksimdriving123 - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Back to back championships in one of the most pressure packed jobs in sports. Wow.

  8. vm113 - Feb 23, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Im glad. Now bring in a guy who just throw’s in the biggest names and doesn’t worry about chemistry. Who did they have running the show in 06? Yea bring back that guy.

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:06 PM

      Pretty sure it was Gretzky in 2006. Not likely he’ll get the job again.

  9. hieronymous27 - Feb 24, 2014 at 5:15 AM

    Kudos to Yzerman for a job well done. Wonder what Ed Snider was thinking when Canada defeated Sweden. Whoever follows Mr. Y has an unenviable job. Will Mike Babcock follow Stevie’s lead when it comes to the next Olympic games? Is there a coach with better credentials on the Olympic and NHL stages than Mike Babcock?

  10. flash8910 - Feb 24, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    Any chance Stevie would work with USA hockey?

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