THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 28
1997: Mark Messier, a free agent after six seasons with the New York Rangers, signs a three-year, $20 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks.
Several teams talk to Messier, but the Canucks, after failing to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 1996-97, make a major push to sign the 36-year-old center three years after he scores the winning goal against them in Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final.
But, the signing doesn't work the way Vancouver intends. Messier finishes his first season with 60 points (22 goals, 38 assists), down from 36 goals and 84 points in his final season with the Rangers. Injuries limit Messier to 59 and 66 games in the following two seasons, when he finishes with 48 and 54 points, respectively.
The Canucks miss the playoffs in each of Messier's three seasons in Vancouver before he returns to New York for the 2000-01 season.
Video: Mark Messier was one of NHL's greatest leaders
1984: Forward Zach Parise is born in Minneapolis. The son of longtime NHL forward J.P. Parise plays for his father at Shattuck-St. Mary's School and attends the University of North Dakota before joining the New Jersey Devils in 2005. He scores 30 or more goals five times in a span of six seasons and helps the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2012. But less than a month after Parise and the Devils lose to the Los Angeles Kings, he signs a 13-year, $98-million contract with the Minnesota Wild.
1999: The Canucks sign Swedish twins Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin to their first pro contracts. The Sedins are the best young prospects in Europe and they want to play together if they are to come to North America. Canucks general manager Brian Burke makes a series of trades that give Vancouver the second and third picks in the draft; the Canucks take Daniel with the second pick and Henrik with the third.