Steve Yzerman back as Canada's GM
Steve Yzerman is returning to run reigning Olympic champion Team Canada for the 2014 Sochi Games.
Hockey Canada made the announcement at a news conference Monday in Calgary. The national governing body also announced the full management staff for the men's national team over the next two years, led by Yzerman, the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
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It was a no-brainer for Steve Yzerman to return as Team Canada's executive director for the 2014 Olympics, but whether he'll have any NHL star power is anyone's guess, writes Pierre LeBrun. Blog
Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe, Detroit Red Wings general manger Ken Holland, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong, Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson and Hockey Canada vice-president Brad Pascall were also announced as part of the Team Canada management staff.
"When I met with Steve Yzerman, he didn't just want it -- he really wanted to be involved and to lead this group," said Nicholson. He quickly came to the conclusion that he'd like to have the same group around him that he did in Vancouver, so we're moving ahead."
Yzerman was also executive director of the Canadian team that captured the gold medal in February 2010 in Vancouver.
"The opportunity to work with Hockey Canada again is something I'm really excited about," Yzerman said. "I really, really enjoyed the experience in the past, and really look forward to the next few years. And hopefully all goes well and the National Hockey League players will be participating in Sochi as well."
Like Wayne Gretzky before him, Yzerman will run Team Canada in back-to-back Olympics.
"Right guy for the job, great choice," Gretzky told ESPN.com via text message Monday regarding the Yzerman announcement.
Said Lightning owner Jeff Vinik in a statement: "We were pleased and excited to hear Hockey Canada's announcement today naming Steve its Executive Director through 2013-14. I believe his selection is well deserved and all of us at the Lightning are proud to have our General Manager leading the charge for his home country in the 2014 Olympic Games. Steve's successes for Hockey Canada in 2010 helped draw us to him in our search for a General Manager that spring and I am confident that he will continue to do an excellent job for Tampa Bay while overseeing the Canadian men's national program."
With Gretzky at the helm as executive director, Canada's 50-year gold medal drought ended at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, beating Team USA in the gold medal game, with Yzerman part of that team as a key veteran player.
Gretzky also presided over the Canadian team that finished out of the medals in Torino, Italy, in 2006.
Yzerman took over for the 2010 Games and faced incredible pressure to assemble a team that could win gold on home soil in his hockey-crazed country. The Canadians did just that, as Sidney Crosby's overtime goal lifted the hosts past Team USA in the championship game.
The NHL has not yet formally agreed to participate in the Sochi Games. That's expected to be part of collective bargaining talks with the NHL Players' Association, as well as the league and players' union agreeing the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation. The current CBA expires Sept. 15.
USA Hockey's announcement of an Olympic general manager will likely wait until the league and the union make it official that NHL players will be participating in Sochi.
"Our timeline is not a set timeline," USA Hockey's Jim Johannson told ESPN The Magazine's Craig Custance on Monday. "For us, it's about getting a pulse of where things are going to end up with the CBA and the NHL before making the announcements."
Since the NHL first agreed to send its players beginning with Nagano, Japan, in 1998, Canada has won two gold medals followed by the Czech Republic (1998) and Sweden (2006).
Team USA has silver medals from 2002 and 2010.
Hockey Canada also announced that Lowe will be GM for Canada's entry in the 2012 men's world championship in Finland and Sweden. He will be assisted by Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Toronto Maple Leafs executive Dave Nonis.
Pierre LeBrun is an NHL writer for ESPN.com. Information from Craig Custance of ESPN The Magazine and The Associated Press contributed to this report.