Steve Yzerman is coming home to receive his latest honour.
The Detroit Red Wings legend heads the 2007 enshrinement class for the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, a group that also includes freestyle skiing pioneer Mike Nemesvary and Robert Rathwell, a pillar of community sports in Ottawa.
They’ll receive their formal induction on Friday night at Scotiabank Place, where the Ottawa Sports Hall holds a place of distinction on the arena’s 200-level concourse. For Yzerman, it’s the perfect weekend – his Red Wings face the Ottawa Senators in a much-anticipated showdown of National Hockey League conference leaders on Saturday night in the same building.
“This is a really nice honour for me,” Yzerman said Wednesday during a conference call in advance of Friday’s ceremony. “For the most part, I grew up in Ottawa… I played the bulk of my competitive minor hockey in Ottawa. My wife’s family and my family are still there, so it’s a tremendous honour for me.
“And with the Red Wings playing the Senators (on Saturday), it’ll be a really enjoyable weekend.”
Yzerman, a surefire Hockey-Hall-of-Famer when he becomes eligible in 2009, has been a part of the Red Wings organization for 25 years. He was the longest-serving captain in NHL history, led the Wings to three Stanley Cups and was a part of Canada’s gold-medal-winning team at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
Today, he’s an executive vice-president with the Wings, with designs on being a general manager someday. He admits he hasn’t had a hint of regret about his retirement in July 2006.
“I certainly didn’t feel like I had anything left and not for a moment have I regretted retiring,” said Yzerman. “But I do enjoy watching the game and watching our team.”
Yzerman, who was born in Cranbrook, B.C., also recently learned he is to be inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.
“They’re really nice honours,” said Yzerman, who will also be feted during Saturday’s Sens-Wings game. “I’ve found myself enjoying some of these events and some of the honours. I really appreciate them and I’m grateful that people acknowledge my efforts throughout my career.”
And of course, the biggest honour of all awaits him in the near future.
“It would be a great honour,” Yzerman said of the Hockey Hall of Fame. “That’s the ultimate accomplishment in a player’s career.”
Tickets for the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner are on sale now at the Scotiabank Place box office; online at www.capitaltickets.ca, or by phone at 1-877-788-FANS (3267) or 613-599-FANS (3267).