July 3, 2006

Yzerman hangs up skates after 22 seasons with Red Wings

DETROIT (Reuters) - Detroit Red Wings long-time captain
Steve Yzerman on Monday announced his retirement from hockey
after 22 seasons.

"I've decided to retire, hang up my skates, and I feel
really good about that," Yzerman said at a news conference.

Yzerman spent his entire career with the Red Wings and led
the team to three Stanley Cup championships in 1997, 1998, and

The 41-year-old had been hampered by knee injuries for the
past six years but until recently had been hoping to return for
his 23rd NHL season.

"I've enjoyed my career as a hockey player," Yzerman said.

Joining the Red Wings at age 18, Yzerman was named captain
three years later in the 1986-87 season and his tenure is the
longest in NHL history.

Yzerman ranks sixth all-time with 1,755 points.

The Canadian native's time on the ice began to diminish
after he aggravated a long-time knee injury, forcing him to
miss 30 games in the 2001-2002 season.

Playing on one good knee, he led Detroit to its third
Stanley Cup in six years in 2002, scoring 23 points in 23

The following summer, Yzerman underwent surgery for a knee
realignment, a procedure typically reserved for the elderly. He
missed 66 games but returned to play in April, 2003.

After the NHL lockout that wiped out the 2004-2005 season,
Yzerman signed a one-year deal with the Wings in August 2005,
ensuring that Detroit would have the same captain for the 19th
consecutive season.

A 10-time All-Star, Yzerman won many awards. He was named
to the NHL's All-Rookie Team in 1984, won the Lester B. Pearson
Award honoring the league's outstanding player in 1989, and the
Conn Smythe Trophy honoring the playoff MVP in 1998.

He also helped Canada to gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City

Yzerman on Monday expressed admiration for fans and Red
Wings officials, saying he "always felt like a little boy
trying to please his parents every time he stepped on the ice."

(Additional reporting by Kevin Krolicki)