Yzerman among five to receive Lester Patrick Award

Updated: November 6, 2006, 6:31 PM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- Detroit Red Wings vice president and former captain Steve Yzerman was one of five people to receive the Lester Patrick Award from the NHL on Monday at Joe Louis Arena.

The award recognizes outstanding service to hockey in the United States and is named after NHL pioneer Lester Patrick, who was a player, coach, manager, owner and NHL governor. Patrick was the general manager of the New York Rangers in the 1920s, '30s and '40s.

Hall of Fame player Marcel Dionne, Michigan coach Red Berenson, former NHL defenseman Reed Larson and former coach Glen Sonmor also received the award.

Many credit Yzerman with reviving the Red Wings, a moribund franchise when he was drafted in 1983. He eventually led the team to Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998 and 2002. But Yzerman says owners Mike and Marian Ilitch deserve the credit.

"It was their passion and refusal to settle for anything less, getting the team to win a Stanley Cup," Yzerman said. "Me, I just participated over the course of time."

In 22 seasons in Detroit, Yzerman's 1,063 assists are the most in franchise history and his 692 goals and 1,755 points are second only to Gordie Howe. He was was the longest-serving captain in NHL history, from the 1986-87 season until his retirement after last season.

Berenson has been Michigan's coach since 1984 and won NCAA titles in 1996 and 1998. After playing for Michigan from 1959-62, he played 17 seasons in the NHL before coaching the St. Louis Blues.

Larson played 13 NHL seasons (1976-77 to 1988-89), the first 10 with the Red Wings. He was known for having one of the league's hardest slap shots. The Minneapolis native was the first American-born player to score 200 career goals.

Dionne, who played in Detroit his first four seasons (1971-72 to 1974-75) and played most of his career with the Los Angeles Kings, is one of only six players with more than 700 career goals.

Sonmor coached in the NHL, the old World Hockey Association and in the college ranks with Minnesota.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press