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Monday, July 03, 2006

It's Official

Well, it's official. I am currently listening to Stevie Y announce his retirement. I really can't talk about my feelings right now. It's just too raw and emotional. So, I wish to share with you his career in pictures.

Stephen Gregory Yzerman was drafted 4th overall, by the Red Wings, in 1983 and began playing at the age of 18 in 1984. He was also the youngest player named Captain in League history, at the ripe old age of 21, in 1986. He retires as the longest tenured Captain in League history.

Stevie has become an eternal member of the Detroit, Michigan family, as can be seen by this mural that was painted on the side of a prominant down-town Detroit hotel a few years ago.

After many years of hardship and dissapointments during the '80s and early '90s, The Captain led the Red Wings to 3 Stanley Cup Championships since 1997.

Stevie has also played in two Olympics, representing Canada, even-though he's a dual citizen. He led the Canadian team to the gold medal in 2002. He has earned so much respect in the hockey world that when he turned down playing in 2006, the team decided that no-one would wear his #19.

In 1997, Stevie led the Detroit Red Wings to their first Stanley Cup in 42 years.

In 1998, Stevie won the Conn Smythe Trophy, as playoff MVP, as the Wings won a back-to-back Stanley Cup Championship

In 2002, Stevie led the Wings to their latest Stanley Cup, and the last Stanley Cup of his career. It was a family occasion as he stands next to his daughter. This one was a hard one to win, as he played exceptionally and extraordinarilly well despite basically playing on one leg. In the off-season, he would require radical knee surgery that had never been attempted on an athlete before. True to form, he played and battled through the pain.

The Captain is the epitome of a leader. He played through injury. He played through immense pain and adversity. He never desired or sought to be the center of attention. He led through action, not words. He took the whole state of Michigan of his back and played with the heart of a lion, the heart of a warrior. He is the type of person, the type of player that comes around once in a life-time in any sport. He will be missed. He will surely make the hall of fame. His number will be raised to the rafters. #19 will never be worn again by another Red Wing. He will be missed. It is truly the end of an era.
Thank you, Stevie.
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