(AP) – Steve Yzerman is stepping down as general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning and will be replaced immediately by assistant Julien BriseBois, a person with knowledge of the move told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The stunning turn of events comes days before the Lightning open training camp following a trip to the Eastern Conference final. Yzerman, 53, spent the past eight seasons as Tampa Bay’s GM, a tenure that included four playoff appearances and a trip to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the team had not announced Yzerman’s decision. The Lightning were expected to hold a news conference later Tuesday.
BriseBois, 41, had been an assistant to Yzerman since they joined the Lightning organization in 2010. He has long been considered a future NHL general manager.
Yzerman, a Hall of Fame center with the Detroit Red Wings who won the Cup three times as a player, went into management immediately after retiring. He began his front office career as vice president of hockey operations under GM Ken Holland in Detroit and was part of a Cup winner in 2008 before getting the head job with the Lightning.
Tampa Bay came two victories away from the second title in franchise history three years ago. Yzerman has also won Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014 as Canada’s GM.
The Athletic and Canadian TV network Sportsnet first reported Yzerman stepping down.