The Captain is coming home.
Hockey Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman will be named general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, two people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Friday. Ken Holland will become the team’s senior vice president after being its general manager for two-plus decades, according to the two people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the move.
Yzerman was a captain for a league-record 20 seasons in Detroit, where he is adored and known as The Captain.
He stepped down as general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning last year just two days before training camp, triggering talk he would come back to run the Red Wings. Yzerman’s contract with the Lightning expired when they were eliminated in the first round of the NHL playoffs earlier this week by Columbus after tying a league record with 62 wins. He built Tampa Bay into a perennial contender in eight seasons as general manager, making three trips to the conference final and an advancing to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final where the Lightning lost to Chicago.
Yzerman, a three-time Stanley Cup winner, went into management immediately after retiring and Holland was his mentor in the front office. He began his post-playing career as vice president of hockey operations under Holland in Detroit and was part of the organization as a Stanley Cup winner in 2008 before leaving to lead the Lightning.
Yzerman spent his entire playing career trying with the Red Wings, and his No. 19 jersey is retired along with some of the game’s greats such as Gordie Howe. He is regarded as one of the best leaders in NHL history.
His 22-season career ended with his retirement in 2006 after leading the Red Wings to titles in 1997, 1998 and 2002. His career ended with 1,755 regular-season points, a total that led all active players when he retired and trailed just five in NHL history.
Yzerman is taking over a team that has missed the playoffs three straight years in its worst stretch since the early 1980s when the team was known locally as the “Dead Wings” and needed to give away a car at each home game to get people to attend games.
Detroit drafted Yzerman No. 4 overall in 1983 and he helped turn around the franchise.
As the general manager, he’ll have a chance to do it again.