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NHL Detroit Red Wings

Addition of Steve Yzerman Will Make Winter Classic Alumni Showdown a Must-See

Steve Yzerman Winter Classic

Tim Fuller – USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Red Wings fans got some great news on Tuesday, as the team confirmed that legendary Red Wings captain and Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman will return to Detroit on Dec. 31 to take part in the Winter Classic Alumni Showdown. After months of speculation and some vague answers, the pressure of being the only big name not committed must have got to the captain, as he will attend the festivities despite having a lot on his plate. Yzerman is not only the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, he also serves as the GM of Team Canada for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The alumni game will now feature most of the core of the Red Wings 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cup championship teams, as Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Chris Osgood, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Nicklas Lidstrom, Slava Kozlov, Slava Fetisov and Mike Vernon made earlier commitments to attend. So many players have agreed to attend that the Showdown will actually be a doubleheader, as some of the greatest players in Red Wings history take on some of the legends in Toronto Maple Leafs history.

As one of only six players to have his jersey retired by the Red Wings (Lidstrom will be the seventh later this season), Yzerman’s inclusion now guarantees that the four living players to have received that honor will be on hand at Comerica Park at the end of the month. Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio will also be at the Alumni Showdown, as the Red Wings will have arguably the most talented and most decorated collection of former players ever assembled. Many have moved on to successful careers after retirement, and now that one of the great captains in team history has made the time to return, the Alumni Showdown can’t come soon enough for Red Wings fans.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL featured columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.