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Mark Messier
Mark Messier 2006-01-12
Position Center
Shot Left
Nickname(s) Moose, The Captain
Mess, The Messiah
Height
Weight
6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
205 lb (93 kg)
Teams WHA
 Indianapolis Racers
 Cincinnati Stingers
NHL
 Edmonton Oilers
 New York Rangers
 Vancouver Canucks
Nationality CAN
Born January 18 1961 (1961-01-18) (age 53),
Edmonton, AB, CAN
NHL Draft 48th overall, 1979
Edmonton Oilers
Pro Career 1978 – 2004
Hall of Fame, 2007

Mark John Douglas Messier (born January 18, 1961, in Edmonton, Alberta) is a former ice hockey centreman of the National Hockey League. He spent a quarter of a century in the NHL (1979-2004) with the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks. He also played professionally with the World Hockey Association's Indianapolis Racers and Cincinnati Stingers. At the time of his retirement, he was the last former WHA player still active in professional hockey, as well as the last active player who had played in the NHL in the 1970s.

Messier is widely considered among the best NHL players of all time.[1] He is second on the all-time career lists for regular season points (1887), playoff points (295) and regular season games played (1756). He won six Stanley Cups with the Oilers and Rangers, and is the only professional athlete to captain two different teams to championships. In 2007 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Playing careerEdit

Indianapolis Racers (1978)Edit

Mark Messier played Tier II Alberta Jr. Hockey with the St. Albert Saints. In 54 games, Messier had 74 points and 194 Penalty Minutes. [2] Messier also played a few games with the Portland Winter Hawks. Mark’s father Doug once played junior hockey with Pat Stapleton, the coach of the Indianapolis Racers. Doug called him and got Mark a contract to play hockey in Indianapolis for $30,000. [2] Mark signed the 5-game tryout contract at the age of 17. He failed to register a point and was released just before the Racers folded.

Cincinnati Stingers (1978-79)Edit

Shortly after being released by Indianapolis, Mark was signed as a free agent by the Cincinnati Stingers. While with the Cincinnati Stingers, Messier was on a line with Robbie Ftorek. [3] Ftorek was one of the top scorers in the league but Messier managed to get only one goal. He would play 47 games for the Stingers tallying only one goal and ten assists. While in Cincinnati, Messier was teammates with future Hall of Famer Mike Gartner, future NHL coach Barry Melrose, and future NHL referee Paul Stewart. When he retired, Messier was the last former WHA player still active on the ice as a player.

Edmonton Oilers (1979-1991)Edit

Messier was drafted in the 3rd round, 48th overall, by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. Messier was renowned as a fierce, tough competitor whose intense leadership in the locker room was as important as the goals he scored on the ice. He wasn't initially known as a scorer, but his offensive numbers increased steadily over his first few years with the Oilers. In 1981-82, he registered his only 50-goal season. For most of his tenure with the Oilers, he played on a line with Glenn Anderson.

Initially a left winger (he was named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1982-83 on left wing), Messier switched to centre in the 1984 playoffs, and the results were spectacular. Though Messier ranks second in all-time scoring with 1,887 points (694 goals and 1,193 assists) in the regular season, his greatness will always be measured in terms of playoff achievements. In Game 3 of the 1984 Finals, for example, with his Oilers trailing the four-time defending champion New York Islanders by a goal, it was Messier's goal that sparked a comeback by the Oilers. By the end of the series, Messier had earned the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player of the playoffs.

He won four more Cups with the Oilers, including 1990, when he captained the Oilers to a five-game victory over the Boston Bruins. Though the Oilers had been a 1980s powerhouse, the 1990 victory, which came two years after Wayne Gretzky was traded away, surprised many. Messier also won the Hart Trophy as league MVP that season.

A year later, in one of many cost-cutting moves by Edmonton management, Messier was traded to the New York Rangers.

New York Rangers (1991-1997)Edit

In his first seasoan with the Rangers, Messier won his second Hart Trophy and guided the Rangers to the best record in the NHL. However, they were ousted in six games by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. A year later they missed the playoffs.

In [[1993-94 NHL season|1993-94, the Rangers rebounded to once again finish first overall, and this time were expected to win the Cup. Messier was already known as a hockey superstar, but the birth of the Messier legend came as a New York Ranger in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals against the rival New Jersey Devils. Down 3-2 in the best of seven series, Messier confronted the New York media and publicly guaranteed a Game 6 victory. In a feat comparable in New York sports history to Babe Ruth's called shot and Joe Namath's Super Bowl III guarantee, he backed up his promise by scoring a natural hat trick in the third period which helped the Rangers erase a two-goal deficit. The Rangers went on to win the series and the Stanley Cup (with Messier scoring the Cup winning goal in game 7) — their first in 54 years.

The 1994 Stanley Cup would be the high watermark of the second half of Messier's career. In 1995-96, Messier came as close as he had since 1991-92 to breaking the 100-point plateau when, at the age of 35, he recorded a 99-point season. With Wayne Gretzky joining the Rangers in 1996-97, the team reached the Eastern Conference Finals. The Rangers were defeated in the conference finals by the Philadelphia Flyers that year. An 84-point year during the 1996-97 regular season encouraged the Vancouver Canucks to sign the 36-year old to a high-priced free agent contract, ending the brief reunion of Messier and Gretzky being together again on the same team after just one season.

Vancouver Canucks (1997-2000)Edit

It was a high-profile move, with Messier returning to Canada after six years with the Rangers, but the honeymoon did not last. Before playing the season, Messier was given the team captaincy, taken from Trevor Linden. Shortly after Messier's acquisition, Trevor Linden was traded by Mike Keenan to the New York Islanders. Sixty points in 1997-98 was his worst mark in a full year since his first NHL season; his next two seasons were shortened by injury. His demand that the #11 the team unofficially retired in honour of Wayne Maki be given to him hurt his image as well.[4] He finished with 158 points over three years, and, having become unpopular with Canucks fans, left at the end of the 1999-2000 season.

Back on Broadway: New York Rangers (2000-2004)Edit

After his tenure with the Canucks, he returned to New York to try to lead the Rangers back to glory. The Rangers held a press conference where they symbolically buried a hatchet, and Messier made an ill-fated "guarantee" of a playoff berth.[5] Messier was also given back the team captaincy upon his return to the Rangers, handed over to him personally by Brian Leetch.

Messier's 67-point season as a 40-year old in 2000-01 was a mark better than any he established in his Vancouver years, showing that he could still be a valuable presence, but the Rangers missed the playoffs for the fourth year running. After missing half of 2001-02 due to an arm injury, Messier recorded only 23 points, and finished up next year with a 40-point campaign. On June 30, 2003, the Rangers traded Messier to the San Jose Sharks for future considerations. However, the Rangers resigned Messier again as an unrestricted free agent on September 3.

The 2003-04 season had been widely expected to be Messier's last. On November 4, 2003 against the Dallas Stars, Messier scored a pair of goals to vault past Gordie Howe into second on the all-time point scoring list. Eleven days later, Messier was the only active player to play in the legends game at Edmonton's Heritage Classic, suiting up with the Oiler alumni and making many light-hearted comments about being Edmonton's "ringer." During his last game at Madison Square Garden, Messier received applause every time he touched the puck and, after the game, received a standing ovation while he skated around the Garden and bowed to every section of the stands.[6] At the age of 43, most media outlets believed Messier had decided to quit. The NHL lockout eliminated the next season. All speculation ended on September 12, 2005, when he announced his retirement on ESPN radio.[7] He is generally considered one of the greatest hockey players and greatest sports leaders of all time.

Post Retirement (2005-Present)Edit

Messier retired eleven games behind Howe's NHL record 1,767 regular season games played. Messier holds the record for most NHL regular season and playoff season games played at 1,992. Messier is one of a handful of players to have played 25 NHL seasons, doing so over four decades.

On January 12, 2006 during a very emotional ceremony that featured most of the 1994 Stanley Cup team, the New York Rangers retired his number 11 in a game against the Edmonton Oilers. Fans unable to attend the game put their tickets back on the market, with front row seats being resold up to the price of $30,000. The ceremony lasted 75 minutes, making it the longest of its kind in the history of professional sports.During the game, the Rangers defeated the Oilers. [1] His is the 4th number retired by the Rangers. His number was retired by the Edmonton Oilers on February 27, 2007 against the Phoenix Coyotes, coached by former teammate Wayne Gretzky.[8]

In February 2007, Messier publicly expressed interest in returning to the NHL, in the form of General Manager for the Rangers, however current GM Glen Sather responded by saying he has no plans of stepping down from his position.[9] With the departure of Assistant GM Don Maloney from the Rangers organization in May 2007, Messier's name has been attached to possible replacements,[10] however in July 2007 Jim Schoenfeld was announced as Maloney's replacement.

On November 15, 2010, Mark Messier made his coaching debut. He was behind the bench for the Canadian men's national hockey team at the Deutschland Cup. His team lost to Germany in his debut by a 4-3 tally. Hockey Canada also announced that Messier shall be the Team Canada coach for the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland, December 26-31.[11]

Messier Coach

Messier coaching the Canadian men's national team at the Deutschland Cup.

Off the ice Edit

Messier attended St. Francis Xavier high school in Edmonton as he played junior hockey where his father Doug was his coach and mentor for his early years, where he played with the Spruce Grove Mets. Mark's brother Paul Messier was drafted by the Colorado Rockies 41st overall in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft, but he only played nine games with the club in 1978–79 before embarking on a long career in the German Bundesliga. His cousins Mitch and Joby also skated for NHL clubs. Joby was even briefly Mark's teammate on the Rangers. One of his cousins, Brian, is keeping up the family hockey tradition in Texas, playing with the Ice Hawks.

Mark Messier 2006-01-12

Messier in 2006

Messier's son Lyon, who was born on August 16, 1987, is a former defenseman who spent part of two seasons with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. Lyon also split time with the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL and the New Mexico Scorpions of the CHL during the 2008-09 season. Lyon's mother is former model Lesley Young. His current girlfriend and soon to-be wife, Kim Clark, gave birth to Mark's second son, Douglas Paul, on July 15, 2003, and daughter Jacqueline Jean in August 2005. Messier and his family reside in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

After his retirement, Messier appeared in a Versus television special in the United States highlighting his "Mark Messier Leadership Camp", which allowed New Yorkers to mix seminars in leadership and working with others with hockey games against former Rangers, including a scrimmage on the Garden ice.

Messier was featured in a Lay's chips campaign that aired in Canada in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The commercials originally featured Messier being challenged to a bet by a local hockey fan, who bets that Messier cannot eat just one potato chip, in reference to the Lay's slogan "bet you can't eat just one." Messier loses the bet, and ends up playing in a local 'beer league' hockey game, which he easily dominates. Later variations would have Messier himself making the same bet. He was also featured in Lay's ads in America where he asked neighbors to borrow ice, sugar or a hairdryer (playing on his bald head) to get chips.

Almost thirty years after having played with the Saints, Messier is a legend in the Edmonton suburb of St. Albert, Alberta. One of the rinks in the local Campbell Arena bears Messier's name.

More recently, Messier has found time to do some work as a hockey analyst. He's occasionally seen on NHL on Versus as a studio analyst, was an in-game analyst for The NHL All-Star Game on Versus, and has been a guest commentator on NHL on NBC.

In Edmonton, a section of St. Albert Trail between St. Albert and the City of Edmonton, has been renamed to Mark Messier Trail as of February 26, 2007.

On November 12, 2007, Messier was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the players category.

Messier is an advocate for preventative healthcare and spokesperson for Cold-fX. He is also involved in many philanthropic causes, most recently The New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund, for which he serves on the Board.

Messier has also become a hotelier, owning the small, yet popular, Runaway Hill Club on the famous pink sand beach on Harbour Island in the Bahamas. He also regularly fishes for marlin on his boat 'Wani Kanati'.

Awards & achievementsEdit

TransactionsEdit

  • August 9th, 1979- Edmonton Oilers' third round choice, 48th overall in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft
  • July 13th 2000- Signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers.
  • June 20th, 2003- Traded by the New York Rangers to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for San Jose's 2004's 4th round draft choice.
  • September 5, 2003- Signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers.
  • June 12th, 2004- Officially announced retirement.

Career statisticsEdit

Regular Season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1976-77 Spruce Grove Mets AJHL 57 27 39 66 91 -- -- -- -- --
1977-78 St. Albert Saints AJHL 54 25 49 74 194 -- -- -- -- --
1977-78 Portland Winter Hawks WHL -- -- -- -- -- 7 4 1 5 2
1978-79 St. Albert Saints AJHL 17 15 18 33 64 -- -- -- -- --
1978-79 Indianapolis Racers WHA 5 0 0 0 0 -- -- -- -- --
1978-79 Cincinnati Stingers WHA 47 1 10 11 58 -- -- -- -- --
1979-80 Houston Apollos CHL 4 0 3 3 4 -- -- -- -- --
1979-80 Edmonton Oilers NHL 75 12 21 33 120 3 1 2 3 2
1980-81 Edmonton Oilers NHL 72 23 40 63 102 9 2 5 7 13
1981-82 Edmonton Oilers NHL 78 50 38 88 119 5 1 2 3 8
1982-83 Edmonton Oilers NHL 77 48 58 106 72 15 15 6 21 14
1983-84 Edmonton Oilers NHL 73 37 64 101 165 19 8 18 26 19
1984-85 Edmonton Oilers NHL 55 23 31 54 57 18 12 13 25 12
1985-86 Edmonton Oilers NHL 63 35 49 84 68 10 4 6 10 18
1986-87 Edmonton Oilers NHL 77 37 70 107 73 21 12 16 28 16
1987-88 Edmonton Oilers NHL 77 37 74 111 103 19 11 23 34 29
1988-89 Edmonton Oilers NHL 72 33 61 94 130 7 1 11 12 8
1989-90 Edmonton Oilers NHL 79 45 84 129 79 22 9 22 31 20
1990-91 Edmonton Oilers NHL 53 12 52 64 34 18 4 11 15 16
1991-92 New York Rangers NHL 79 35 72 107 76 11 7 7 14 6
1992-93 New York Rangers NHL 75 25 66 91 72 -- -- -- -- --
1993-94 New York Rangers NHL 76 26 58 84 76 23 12 18 30 33
1994-95 New York Rangers NHL 46 14 39 53 40 10 3 10 13 8
1995-96 New York Rangers NHL 74 47 52 99 122 11 4 7 11 16
1996-97 New York Rangers NHL 71 36 48 84 88 15 3 9 12 6
1997-98 Vancouver Canucks NHL 82 22 38 60 58 -- -- -- -- --
1998-99 Vancouver Canucks NHL 59 13 35 48 33 -- -- -- -- --
1999-00 Vancouver Canucks NHL 66 17 37 54 30 -- -- -- -- --
2000-01 New York Rangers NHL 82 24 43 67 89 -- -- -- -- --
2001-02 New York Rangers NHL 41 7 16 23 32 -- -- -- -- --
2002-03 New York Rangers NHL 78 18 22 40 30 -- -- -- -- --
2003-04 New York Rangers NHL 76 18 25 43 42 -- -- -- -- --
NHL Totals 1756 694 1193 1887 1910 236 109 186 295 244

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Messier among best -- ever
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association, p.236, McLelland and Stewart, Toronto, ON, ISBN 0-7710-8947-3
  3. The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association, p.237, McLelland and Stewart, Toronto, ON, ISBN 0-7710-8947-3
  4. The 12 sports books of Christmas. Vancouver Courier (2004). Retrieved on 2006-08-26.
  5. Messier stands by playoff guarantee. CBC.ca (2001). Retrieved on 2007-10-17.
  6. messier scores in possible msg finale. nyrangers.com (2004). Retrieved on 2007-10-17.
  7. Mark Messier retires after 25 seasons.. ESPN.com (2006). Retrieved on 2006-08-26.
  8. Oilers to retire Mark Messier's No. 11 jersey. NHL.com (2006). Retrieved on 2006-08-26.
  9. Messier's GM comments surprise Rangers' Sather. espn.com (2007). Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
  10. Messier ponders Rangers' assistant GM opening. go.com (2007). Retrieved on 2007-06-16.
  11. http://www.iihf.com/home-of-hockey/news/news-singleview/article/messiers-coaching-premiere.html?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=191&cHash=e5506fa5e1

External linksEdit

Awards
Preceded by
Billy Smith
Winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy
1984
Succeeded by
Wayne Gretzky
Preceded by
Wayne Gretzky
Winner of the Hart Trophy
1990
Succeeded by
Brett Hull
Preceded by
Brett Hull
Winner of the Hart Trophy
1992
Succeeded by
Mario Lemieux
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Wayne Gretzky
Edmonton Oilers captains
1988-91
Succeeded by
Kevin Lowe
Preceded by
Kelly Kisio
New York Rangers captains
1991-97
Succeeded by
Brian Leetch
Preceded by
Trevor Linden
Vancouver Canucks captains
1997-2000
Succeeded by
Markus Naslund
Preceded by
Brian Leetch
New York Rangers captains
2000-05
Succeeded by
Jaromir Jagr

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