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Who is Mark Messier?

Mark Messier, an NHL legend, is renowned for his leadership and skill on the ice. With six Stanley Cup victories and the second-highest points tally in league history, he's a true hockey icon. His legacy extends beyond stats, inspiring countless players. How did Messier's leadership redefine the game? Join us as we explore the impact of 'The Moose's' storied career.
Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

Mark Douglas Messier, born 18 January 1961, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is known as one of the best hockey players ever to play in the National Hockey League (NHL). He is also known as one of the best leaders in hockey and has led six Stanley Cup victories during his career. Mark Messier led the Edmonton Oilers to five Stanley Cups and the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in more than 50 years.

Mark Messier grew up in the Edmonton area with his father, mother, one brother, and two sisters. Both Messier's brother, Paul, and his father, Doug, played pro hockey in Edmonton. Messier was only seven years old when he skated with his father on the hockey rink ice after practices. He was ten years old when he played on a pee wee hockey team and even at such a young age, was already earning a reputation as an "intense" player.

Hockey player preparing to shoot the puck.
Hockey player preparing to shoot the puck.

Doug Messier coached many of his son's teams during Mark Messier's teen years. By age 16, Mark Messier became a team captain and began making the dressing room talks to the team, a task his father used to do. By age 17, Messier earned enough in a half season of professional hockey in the World Hockey Association (WHA)league in Edmonton to afford to rent an apartment on his own as well as own two cars.

Messier began playing hockey in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers when he was 18 years old. He scored his first NHL goal in his second game and his first NHL assist in his fourth game. The pairing of Messier with hockey high-scorer Wayne Gretzky made for one of the best center duos in NHL history.

Messier was first put in to play center with Wayne Gretzky in the 1983 and 1984 season. The Edmonton Oilers won eight games in a row. By the end of that season, the Oilers not only had their best record ever, they were the best in the league and won the Stanley Cup.

Messier also led the Oilers to four more Stanley Cups between 1984 and 1990. He moved to New York to play for the New York Rangers in 1991 when he was 30 years old. The Rangers had not won a Stanley Cup in over 50 years. When Messier won New York the Stanley Cup against the Vancouver Canucks in the 1993 and 1994 season, the nickname "The Moose" that he'd had in Edmonton was changed by New Yorkers to "The Messiah."

For the most part, Messier did not meet the Vancouver Canucks' high expectations when he played three years in Vancouver from 1997 to 2000 as he was older and more prone to injury. Messier returned to the New York Rangers and played there from 2000 to 2004. "The Captain" resigned from the NHL 12 September 2005 at the age of 44. Mark Messier's number 11 hockey jersey was raised to the rafters in retirement at Madison Square Garden in New York on 12 January 2006 during Mark Messier Night to honor one of hockey's all time greatest stars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Mark Messier and why is he significant in the world of hockey?

Mark Messier is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey player who is widely celebrated for his leadership and skill on the ice. He played a pivotal role in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 25 seasons, winning six Stanley Cups—five with the Edmonton Oilers and one with the New York Rangers. Messier is second on the all-time career lists for playoff points and regular season games played, and he is one of the few players to captain two different professional teams to championships. His legacy includes the Mark Messier Leadership Award, given annually to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice.

What are some of Mark Messier's most notable achievements in his hockey career?

Mark Messier's career is studded with remarkable achievements. He is a six-time Stanley Cup champion and has earned numerous awards, including the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player in 1990 and 1992. Messier was also an All-Star 15 times and is the only player to captain two different teams to Stanley Cup victories. His career points total of 1,887 ranks him third on the all-time list, showcasing his exceptional talent and longevity in the sport.

How did Mark Messier demonstrate leadership throughout his career?

Mark Messier's leadership was exemplified by his ability to inspire his teammates and elevate their play. Known as "The Moose" for his strength and determination, he was famous for his "guarantee" of a Game 6 victory in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, which he delivered with a hat trick. His leadership on and off the ice earned him the captaincy of both the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers, and his influence was so significant that the NHL named an award in his honor to recognize leadership qualities.

What impact did Mark Messier have off the ice?

Off the ice, Mark Messier has made substantial contributions through charitable work and hockey promotion. He has been involved with the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund and has worked to grow the game of hockey through various initiatives, including the Messier Project, which aimed to promote safety and sportsmanship in youth hockey. His leadership extends beyond the rink, as he is also a respected motivational speaker and advocate for community involvement.

Is Mark Messier in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Yes, Mark Messier was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007, the first year he was eligible. His induction was a testament to his outstanding career and contributions to the sport. The Hall of Fame recognizes Messier's exceptional talent, leadership, and the indelible mark he left on the game of hockey.

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    • Hockey player preparing to shoot the puck.
      Hockey player preparing to shoot the puck.