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Steve Yzerman visits Canadian junior team before gold-medal game

Monday, 01.05.2009 / 1:05 PM / News

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Steve Yzerman knew how Canada's junior hockey team felt heading into the gold-medal game against Sweden at the world junior hockey championship Monday.

Yzerman, the executive director of the Canadian men's Olympic team for 2010, has played in and won Stanley Cup finals and Olympic finals. The 43-year-old visited the junior team's dressing room after their pre-game skate Monday.

"I told them to keep cool, but I don't know exactly how you do that though," Yzerman said. "The big games, the key is to figure out a way to be calm and relaxed. The more times you go through it, the more ways you figure it out.

"It's not an easy thing to do."

Yzerman represented Canada eight times internationally and was alternate captain of the Olympic team that won gold in 2002. He played for Canada's junior team in 1983 and finished third in Leningrad, Soviet Union.

Canadian captain Thomas Hickey said Yzerman's presence prior to their big game was inspiring.

"Everyone listens up when someone like that talks," Hickey said. "He's one of the most respected players to ever play the game and for this country.

"He didn't say anything outrageous or anything we didn't expect to hear. He just said 'good luck."'

Yzerman plans to name his coach for 2010 after the Stanley Cup concludes.

Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares