Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm declared Saturday as “Steve Yzerman Day,” more than a week after Yzerman’s No. 19 jersey was retired. The state did not honour Yzerman on Jan. 2 because it was the national day of mourning for former President Gerald Ford, who was raised in Michigan.
Granholm honoured Yzerman “on behalf of young people everywhere who could never come to Joe Louis Arena and to those watching on TV for being an unbelievable role model,” during a brief presentation before Detroit played the Chicago Blackhawks.
Yzerman retired last summer after serving as captain for a league-record 20 seasons during his 22-season career, which was spent entirely with the Red Wings. He now works for the team as a vice president.
He led Detroit to Stanley Cup championships in 1997, 1998 and 2002 and ranks sixth in NHL history with 1,755 points.
Yzerman’s jersey was the sixth retired by the storied franchise, joining Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Terry Sawchuk, Alex Delvecchio and Sid Abel. Yzerman’s No. 19 now hangs in the Joe Louis Arena rafters between Sawchuk’s No. 1 jersey and the team’s 10 championship banners.
On Jan. 2, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick dubbed the day “Steve Yzerman Day” and presented Yzerman with a key to the city. Kilpatrick also said the intersection of Third and Atwater Streets, which meet at Joe Louis Arena, will be changed to “Yzerman Drive.”