Steve Yzerman to head Team Canada

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Steve Yzerman will be appointed executive director of Canada's hockey team for the 2010 Vancouver Games. The Detroit Red Wings executive replaces Wayne Gretzky, who held the job for the past two Olympics.

Hockey Canada will introduce Yzerman on Saturday in Ottawa, where the team's management staff for the Winter Games will be announced.

Gretzky said he'll be available to help for the Olympics but Yzerman will be in charge.

"It's Stevie's team," Gretzky told the Ottawa Sun this week. "It's going to be his staff. It's going to be his coaches and his players. This is definitely handing the reins over. This is not my team."

Yzerman is in his third season as a Red Wings vice president. He has served as Canada's GM at the last two IIHF World Hockey Championships. Those Canadian teams combined for a 17-1 record, winning a gold medal in 2007 and a silver last May.

As a player, Yzerman competed in two Olympics, three world championships, a World Cup, Canada Cup and world junior championship. He also won three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings and retired as the sixth-leading scorer in league history.

He was part of the team that ended Canada's 50-year Olympic drought at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002. At the 2006 Turin Games, Canada lost to Russia in the quarterfinals.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-10-17-08 1214EDT