Mark Messier won the Stanley Cup five times as a player with the Edmonton Oilers. He's now hoping to help deliver a sixth championship in an advisory role.
Messier, 53, said Tuesday he is working with the Oilers as an adviser. He is assisting a front office that includes former teammates Kevin Lowe (president, hockey operations), Craig MacTavish (general manager), Kelly Buchberger (player personnel) and Keith Acton (associate coach).
"Adviser, consultant," Messier said, according to the Oilers website. "I'm available for anything that they need me to do or talk about.
"For instance, just coming in today and lending some of my experiences as a captain with the coaches here and the organization. So any kind of way that I can help with the players, with the coaches, with decisions. I just told [Lowe] and [MacTavish] that I would be available 24/7 for whatever they needed me to do. I am looking forward to taking this into the next generation of these kids and turning it around."
The Oilers went 29-44-9 last season and haven't reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2006, when they lost in the Final to the Carolina Hurricanes. Messier, who was in Edmonton to talk about the upcoming reunion of the 1984 championship team, said he is confident the right regime is in place to return the franchise to prominence.
"It takes a lot of courage," Messier said. "It's been a tough few years here. It takes a lot of heart, it takes a lot of courage, and it takes a lot of belief to grind your way through it in the lean years here. In my opinion, and of course I would probably get lots of arguments, that they have the right people in place. ...
"It's been a long few years for the management, it's been a long time for the fans, but you don't turn your back when things get tough. You stick with it. And you've got to have the heart and you've got to have the courage to stare it down, not flinch, believe in yourself and believe that you are doing the right things and eventually that current will turn. And I firmly believe we're going to see that."