Friday marks the beginning of a new era in Detroit, as the Red Wings officially brought franchise legend Steve Yzerman home to Hockeytown.
Yzerman, who served as captain of the Red Wings for 20 years, is one of the greatest to have ever worn the Winged Wheel. He led Detroit to three Stanley Cups as a player and one more as an executive, and will now endeavour to bring the Original Six club back to prominence as general manager and executive vice president. Former GM Ken Holland is taking on the role of senior VP.
The move marks the end of an era for those in Tampa Bay. Though he stepped down as GM of the Lightning back in September after eight seasons in the position, he remained affiliated with the club over the course of the 2018-19 season upon handing the reigns over to Julien BriseBois.
Lightning chairman and governor Jeff Vinik released a statement on behalf of the Lightning to thank Yzerman, who built up the Lightning into the powerhouse club we know now.
“We’d like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to Steve Yzerman for all his contributions to the Tampa Bay Lightning over the last nine years. Steve literally transformed the organization’s hockey operations, from our professional and amateur scouting departments, to the front office, to our coaching and locker room staffs, to our major and minor league rosters,” Vinik said in a press release Friday. “He built one of the finest organizations in the NHL and lead us to the playoffs in six of the nine years he was with us, including three Conference Finals and one Stanley Cup Final. While we are disappointed to see Steve leave for our rival Detroit Red Wings, he leaves our franchise in good shape under the extremely capable leadership of Julien BriseBois, as we continue to pursue that elusive Stanley Cup.”
“Personally, I will miss Steve’s knowledge, experience, intelligence, camaraderie and friendship,” Vinik continued. “I wish Steve and his family well upon his return to Detroit; may he build the second-best team in the NHL!”
BriseBois also shared a statement of thanks:
“I am happy that Steve has been presented with a challenge that he is excited to pursue, allowing him to spend more time with his wife, Lisa, and their daughters. I will be forever grateful for the leadership and vision he provided the Tampa Bay Lightning during his time here and most of all, for the opportunity he presented me to grow as a hockey executive. I will miss the day-to-day camaraderie we shared the past nine years but I am appreciative that we have established a life-long friendship.”