Not that Yzerman is in any way a stranger to notable audiences, but this summer he will translate his accomplishments on the ice, along with his vast knowledge of the sport, into a simple, yet urgent message that poses no reservations about falling on deaf ears.
Yzerman, along with Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke and Canadian Women’s National Team member Hayley Wickenheiser, was one of four members selected by the 2010 Molson Canadian World Hockey Summit Steering Committee who will serve as the Summit Leadership Team for the four-day event to be held in Toronto from August 23-26.
“All three people, the two gentlemen and Hayley, are all people that I’ve worked with, been around and competed against,” Yzerman said. “It is really an honor for me to be a part of this group.”
The Summit’s core theme, global teamwork promoting the growth of the game, will be brought to life through interactive seminars, presentations and discussions led by various members of the global hockey world including the International Ice Hockey Federation, Hockey Canada, USA Hockey, the National Hockey League, the Canadian Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association.
The inaugural Molson Canadian World Hockey Summit will open with a series of roundtable discussions on the issues confronting the sport today, including the challenges facing playing transfers and the contractual issues of hockey players.
The committee will also concentrate on a number of other pressing issues as well.
Among the most urgent points to be discussed are understanding the need for a long-term plan regarding player development at both the professional and junior levels, assisting player recruitment, providing opportunities for a positive experience in youth hockey, and fostering long-term participation in the sport at all levels of play. Both the successes and failures of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver will be evaluated, in addition to methods hoping to improve the women’s game and the overall game’s international exposure.
“With the game around the world growing and growing, the level of talent, whether it be the men’s game or the women’s game, at all different levels, has more and more teams vying to win competitive tournaments,” Yzerman added. “It’s an opportunity for us to really take the international game to an even higher level and the game in general.”
The foundation for the Summit centers around a grassroots effort to help grow the game, especially for kids, in an effort to persuade them to pick up a hockey stick and learn the sport beginning at a young age.
“The challenges that I think we have in our game, forget where it’s played, are to keep the game available, affordable, and to make sure we’re always looking at alternatives,” Burke said.