Mark Messier is a former Canadian hockey player who played 25 years as a center in the National Hockey League. Over his illustrious career, Messier won the Stanley Cup Six times. Throughout his career, he played for the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks.
Mark took up the game of hockey when he was 4 years old while attending his father's minor league practices in Edmonton. From there Mark's love for the game only grew as his skill allowed him to skip over juniors and college hockey. Mark was signed to a five-day contract with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association. Mark would have his dream of playing in the National Hockey League come true in 1978 when he was selected 48th overall by the Edmonton Oilers. Mark would struggle to find his game in the first two years in the NHL, but in his third year his career took off leading him to become one of the greatest hockey players of all time.
Mark Messier's ice hockey career would begin at the age of 5 when he was a stickboy for his Dad's minor league hockey team. At 15, he played in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. In 111 games in the league, Messier would amass 140 points. Due to his big size and skill, Messier skipped major junior and college hockey all together and went right to Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association. Messier had a 5 game contract with the Racers where he would go scoreless and end up being released. The Cincinnati Stingers signed Messier to a contract where he scored one goal and 10 assists as a 17 year old.
In the NHL Entry Draft in 1979, the Edmonton Oilers used their third round selection at 48th overall to select Mark Messier. It took Messier a few years to find his footing in the NHL, but once he did he became a great power forward and inspirational leader. In his 851 Games with the Oilers, Messier helped lead them to 5 Stanley Cups alongside Wayne Gretzky.
On October 4, 1991, Messier was traded to the New York Rangers after demanding a trade from the Oilers due to their lack of urgency to spend money on top players. In his first year, the Rangers had the best record, but lost in the second round to the eventual champions the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers missed the playoffs the next year, but in 1993-94 the Rangers had a magical season.
In the Eastern Conference Finals with the Rangers trailing 3-2 to the New Jersey Devils, Messier guaranteed a victory to force game 7. Messier delivered a hat trick to win the game. The Rangers eventually went on to win the Stanley Cup and bring their first cup home in 54 years. With this win, Messier became the first player to captain two different Stanley Cup winning franchises.
Following this victory, Messier played another 10 years in the NHL, but never won a cup again. After playing in New York for 6 years, Messier moved to Vancouver for three seasons before returning to New York for four seasons where he ended his career.
Throughout his 25 year career, Mark Messier conquered numerous titles and awards. Messier will always be remembered for the 6 Stanley Cups he won in an 11 year span with the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers. Playing on the great Oilers' teams in the 1980s which had the great one, Wayne Gretzky, allowed Messier to conquer hockey's greatest challenge, the Stanley Cup. When Gretzky left the Oilers to play in Los Angeles, Messier took over the captain role and led the team to their fifth Stanley Cup, showing off his true leadership skills.
Messier soon left the Oilers and headed to the bright lights of New York City. In his third season with the Rangers, Messier captained the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in 54 years. Messier became the first player in NHL history to be the captain of two different teams Stanley Cup victories.
Messier played 1,756 hockey games in the NHL, ranking with the second most regular season games behind Gordie Howe. Over those 1,756 games, Messier scored 694 goals and 1,193 assists ranking him 9th all time in goals and 3rd in assists.
Messier played in 15 NHL All-Star games while also accomplishing 2 Hart Memorial Trophies and 2 Lester B. Pearson Awards. In 2006, following his retirement, the NHL announced the Mark Messier Leadership Award which is given to the player that demonstrates the best leadership on and off the ice.
Mark Messier was born on January 18, 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to Douglas and Mary-Jean Messier. Messier was born into the sport of hockey as his Dad Douglas played minor league hockey and eventually became a coach. Messier learned a lot of his skills growing up from his dad and playing against his older brother Paul who played professionally for the Colorado Rockies.
At the age of 15, Messier started playing junior hockey and eventually focused full time on hockey after 12th grade. Toward the end of his career, Mark met his future wife Kim Clark who he started dating in 2002. Messier has three children with Kim, Lyon, Douglas Paul and Jacqueline Jean. Their family resides in New York.
Following the conclusion of his career, Messier turned his attention to new business opportunities. Messier plays an active role in the Rangers organization, but he has turned his focus lately to building a 9-rink state of the art facility Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx. Messier also owns the hotel Runaway Hill Club in the Bahamas which he visits frequently with his family and friends.
Mark Messier retired from the National Hockey League on September 12, 2005 after playing for a quarter century. Over his illustrious career Mark played for three franchises, the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. With those three franchises he accumulated 1,887 points making him the third all time leader in points.
Mark Messier's number 11 jersey is retired by both the New York Rangers and the Edmonton Oilers. Messier led both of these franchises to Stanley Cup victories. The Rangers were the first to retire "the Captain's" number as they retired his number 11 on January 12, 2006. Just over a year later, Edmonton would follow suit and retire his jersey on February 27, 2007. Mark was an instrumental player for both franchises as he left a lasting legacy on both fan bases through his hard work and leadership.
Mark Messier is considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time due to his leadership and statistics. Over the course of his 25 year career, Mark became known as the Captain leading to an award being named after him which is given to the best leader in the NHL. Not only did Messier display great leadership on the ice, he also provided great scoring. Messier accomplished 694 goals and 1,193 assists for a total of 1,887 points. This ranks him third all time behind Wayne Gretzky and Jaromir Jagr. Messier also ranks second all time in regular season games played with 1,756, finishing just 21 games behind Gordie Howe for the record. Mark's leadership and skill on the ice makes him one of the greatest players of all time.
On May 25, 1994, Mark Messier's New York Rangers played the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference finals. The Rangers trailed the series 3-2 and had to win game 6 in the Devils' home arena. Messier told reporters that the Rangers will force game 7. The news was splashed across the front page of every newspaper. The rangers struggled throughout the first two periods of the game and entered the third period down 2-1. Mark Messier's leadership and skills came to full effect in the third period. The Captain led the rangers to a 4-2 victory by scoring a hat trick in the third period including capping it off by shooting the puck the length of the ice into an empty net to seal the victory. This game will forever be regarded as one of the greatest of all time and was Messier's greatest moment in the NHL.