For as long as I've watched hockey, there's been one captain of the Detroit Red Wings. One man who wore the C on his jersey. One leader of them all.
Steve Yzerman is arguably the best captain of all time in the NHL. He certainly was captain the longest. And he did it the way I think most people like to see it. He led by example. He didn't complain about his coaches, or practice, or the demands of the game, or of wanting more money to play a game. He played because that was who he was - a hockey player. He gave his all to the sport, and quit not because he was tired of playing, not because nobody would sign him, he quit because he felt like he could no longer be his best.
Steve Yzerman retired over the holiday weekend. Quietly, without much fanfare.
And with him, he takes a bit of the old school hockey mentality with him. He leaves a void in the sport that will take years to fill, and even then, only partially.
I had the good fortune to see Steve Yzerman play on two occasions, once at Joe Louis Arena, and once in San Jose. The Red Wings were at their best when I saw them; led by Scotty Bowman on the bench, and The Captain on the ice. Would that everyone would get to enjoy leadership like that.
But Mitch Albom does a much better job putting the thoughts to paper. Read his article on Yzerman here.