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Messier awaits Hall and is getting that itch for hockey again @NHLdotcom

TORONTO (AP) -As much as he enjoys fatherhood and retirement, Mark Messier suspects he'll hear that call again, and the game will beckon.

"Hockey is what I know best," he said.

Precisely when the six-time Stanley Cup champion and 15-time all-star will be back with the sport he loves is unclear.

"I'm not actively pursuing a position at this particular time," he said during a conference call Wednesday. "But at some point I think it would be gratifying to be part of a championship team in a different position."

Messier left hockey three years ago. He is 46 and now lives in South Carolina, a long way from his Edmonton roots. Family and charity work have allowed for time well spent.

"My two beautiful children have been my focus since retiring," he said. "Being a dad, that's been the best part of retirement."

Messier is preparing for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Monday along with Scott Stevens, Ron Francis, Al MacInnis and Jim Gregory.

He was recognized during his playing days as one of the game's great leaders. He amassed 1,887 points, trailing only former teammate and good friend Wayne Gretzky in the NHL record book. He is seventh in career goals with 694.

Messier was the first player to captain two teams, the Edmonton Oilers and the New York Rangers, to NHL championships. He twice was the regular-season MVP and was playoff MVP in 1984 when the Oilers won the first of their five championships.

"I've always felt leaders are made and not born," he said. "I was very fortunate to have a father who played hockey and understood hockey.

"As you go through your career you realize that you're really at the mercy of the people around you when you play a team sport and I was fortunate to be around tremendous people. Through that, you gain experience. You're faced with making decisions. Sometimes you make the wrong decisions but, hopefully, you learn from them."

Messier, Stevens, MacInnis and Francis will skate in an old-timers game Sunday at Air Canada Centre.

"This whole weekend will be one of reflection on how fortunate I was to have people supporting me throughout my career," Messier said.

The fifth title in Edmonton was tempered by the absence of Gretzky, who had been traded to Los Angeles after the fourth.

"I never felt vindicated that we won without Wayne," Messier said. "If anything, I felt sad he wasn't there to share it with us after what we went through winning the first four."

The 1994 triumph with the Rangers, ending a 54-year title drought, was similar to the first celebration with the Oilers.

"There was just sheer jubilation and satisfaction for both of those cups," he said.

Messier played in the NHL for 25 years and needed surgery only once, a minor shoulder procedure late in his career.

" I was fortunate to walk away from the game incredibly healthy," he said. "Knock on wood."

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