Hockey Hall of Fame center Mark Messier
, New York Rangers
goaltender Mike Richter
and Detroit Red Wings
Senior Vice President Jim Devellano are this year's recipients of the Lester Patrick
Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.
The recipients will be honored at an evening reception at Gotham Hall in New York on Oct. 21. Further details on the event will be announced at a later date.
Messier is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest leaders in all of sports. He had won five Stanley Cups as an Edmonton Oiler when he arrived in New York in 1991 with the task of ending the Rangers' five-decade championship drought. Following the lead of their captain, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994, putting hockey front and center in the consciousness of the United States' largest city and gaining unprecedented publicity and attention for the NHL.
An Edmonton native who began his career as a rambunctious role player, Messier developed into perhaps the greatest power forward in NHL history. In a 25-season career that began in Edmonton and included two stints with the Rangers as well as three years in Vancouver, Messier compiled 1,887 points, second all-time to longtime teammate Wayne Gretzky
. His 1,756 games played are second all-time to Gordie Howe
's 1,767. The combined 1,992 regular-season and playoff games in which Messier appeared are the most in League history. His jersey No. 11 was retired by the Rangers on Jan. 12, 2006 and the Oilers on Feb. 27, 2007, and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 12, 2007.
Richter, a remarkable big-game goaltender, backstopped the Rangers to the 1994 Stanley Cup and led the United States to the inaugural World Cup of Hockey title two years later. He was brilliant on both stages, providing the goaltending that enabled '94 Rangers team to play the attacking style that won the Stanley Cup, then stunning the star-studded Canadian team in the three-game final of the '96 World Cup.
Richter's 666 games played and 301 victories are the most by a goaltender in Rangers history. His 42 victories in 1993-94 are a team single-season record. He was a three-time Olympian who won a silver medal with Team USA in Salt Lake City in 2002. His jersey No. 35 was retired by the Rangers on Feb. 4, 2004, and he was inducted in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Oct. 10, 2008.
Devellano, entering his 28th season with the Red Wings and his 43rd overall in the National Hockey League, continues to be a driving force behind Detroit's success -- as well as a strong influence in the evolution and improvement of the League itself. Devellano was the first person hired by owners Mike and Marian Ilitch after they purchased the Red Wings in June 1982. He was the Wings' general manager for eight seasons before being elevated to his current position as senior VP on July 13, 1990.
Devellano's pioneering work in developing a strong European scouting staff helped build Detroit into an NHL power and four-time Stanley Cup champion from 1997 through 2008. He also was responsible for bringing the Entry Draft to the United States for the very first time on June 13, 1987, at Joe Louis Arena. In all, he has won 14 championship rings as a scout, general manager and team executive in his NHL and minor league hockey career. That includes seven Stanley Cups -- the first three as assistant GM of the New York Islanders
in the early 1980s, when he helped build the team that won four consecutive championships.
The Lester Patrick
Trophy, one of the most prestigious awards in hockey, was presented to the National Hockey League by the New York Rangers
in 1966. It honors the memory of Lester Patrick
, who spent 50 years in hockey as a player, coach and general manager and was a pioneer in the sport's development.