Mark Messier (born January 18, 1961) is Canadian former ice hockey center. He played 25 years (1979 – 2004) in NHL with the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He also played in WHA league. Messier is a six-time Stanley Cup Champion.
Mark Messier made to the Spruce Grove Mets of the AJHL, after try-out, when he was only 15 years old in the 1976-77 season. Team relocated to the St.Albert and re-named St.Albert Saints in the 1977-78 season and Messier was named captain of the team. In the 1978-79 season Messier played with Saints, but also two different teams in the WHA – league (Indianapolis Racers and Cincinnati Stingers). WHA folded after 1978-79 season and Messier was selected in 3rd round of 1979 NHL draft by Edmonton Oilers.
Mark Messier started his Oilers career in season 1979-80 – he was not instant success story, but his offensive numbers increased steadily over first few years with the Oilers. Messier was initially a left winger, but he switched to center position in the 1984 playoffs and that was nice move from Oilers and also from whole career of Messier.
Edmonton Oilers won 1984 Stanley Cup and Mark Messier won Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs. Mark Messier won four more Stanley Cups with the Oilers (1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990). Edmonton Oilers, leading by #99 Wayne Gretzky, was 1980s powerhouse of the NHL. The 1990 Stanley Cup was the one that surprised many. Wayne Gretzky was traded away two years ago and Messier was captain of the team.
After next season (1990-91), Messier was upset, because Edmonton let good players leave the team and after some negotiations Mark Messier was traded to the New York Rangers 4.10.1991.
New York Rangers
Messier started his New York Rangers career with style and won Hart Trophy as a most valuable player of NHL 1992. In the 1993-94 season New York Rangers went to the NHL finals and won Vancouver Canucks in game 7. Messier scored the Stanley Cup winning goal and New York Rangers won their first Stanley Cup in 54 years. In 1996-97 season, Wayne Gretzky joined the New York Rangers and former Oilers teammates played together again. They reached to the Eastern Conference Finals, but physical Philadelphia Flyers with “Legion of Doom” was this time too much.
Vancouver Canucks and return to the Rangers
Mark Messier signed with Vancouver Canucks 1997. He played three seasons with the Canucks, but results were not good. After 1999-2000 season Vancouver Canucks made no attempt to re-sign Messier and he became a free agent. Messier returned to New York and joined the Rangers in 2000-01 season as a 40-years-old. Mark Messier announced his retirement 12.9.2005.
Other interesting stuff
Mark Messier won two Hart Memorial Trophies (1990, 1992) for a NHL’s most valuable player, one Conn Smythe Trophy (1984) for the most valuable player in the playoffs. Mark Messier has been chosen to the NHL First All-Star Team 4 times (1982, 1983, 1990 and 1992). Mark Messier is only player in the NHL history to have captained two Stanley Cup championship teams (Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers).