Yzerman to run Canada’s Olympic team

Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman was tabbed on Monday to lead Canada’s hockey team at a second straight Winter Olympics.

Hockey Canada appointed Yzerman to be executive director of the defending Olympic gold medalists. Yzerman assembled the squad that won it all at the 2010 Vancouver Games, and he will go for the repeat at the Sochi Games in 2014.

”Given the opportunity to go to Russia and compete in the Olympics again, that’s too good an opportunity to pass up,” said Yzerman, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame after a standout NHL playing career. ”It’s just too great a challenge, and these are things I really enjoy doing. Going into Russia trying to win a gold medal will be an incredibly awesome challenge and exciting for all of us.”

Yzerman will be assisted by a group that includes Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, Edmonton Oilers President Kevin Lowe, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong and Hockey Canada staffers Bob Nicholson and Brad Pascall.

”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, the president of Hockey Canada. ”There was no reason to look at any different person to lead. 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.”

The rankings after this year’s world championship will determine how countries are seeded at the Sochi Olympics.

”This year’s world championship is so important for us, to have a very good showing there so that we can move up in the rankings,” Nicholson said.