Steve Yzerman took one of the highest pressure jobs in Canada as the executive director of the Canadian men’s Olympic ice hockey team. For Canadians, the only acceptable outcome is a gold medal, but given the fierce competition from countries like Russia, Sweden, Finland, and the United States, Canada’s success was far from guaranteed.
All the same, he found a way to do just that, assembling back-to-back gold medal winning teams for the first time in Canadian history since the 1948 and 1952 games. Now, he’s ready to step down.
“Time to move on,” Yzerman said, smiling, per TSN and ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
Every decision Yzerman made along the way was fiercely scrutinized. With so many worthy candidates to chose from, any roster he constructed was inevitably criticized by both the fans and his peers.
It was just a few weeks ago that Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider accused Yzerman of playing politics by putting Martin St. Louis on the team as Steven Stamkos’ replacement over Claude Giroux.
“Anybody that thinks that Claude Giroux doesn’t belong on the Canadian Olympic team, they don’t know anything about hockey,” Snider said.
Giroux certainly wasn’t the only great player to be left off the roster, but the teams Yzerman constructed meshed well and, most importantly, won together.
He could not possibly do more than meet the nations expectations, but the fact that he pulled it off is remarkable.