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Mark Messier headed for the Hockey Hall of Fame

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Mark Messier
Former Edmonton Oilers captain Mark Messier was among four players inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Thursday afternoon."It's a tremendous honour to be grouped in with the people that were there before me," said Messier after being announced as an inductee.  "I’d like to thank the Selection

Committee for considering me.  I have been very fortunate to have success
throughout my career and be surrounded by great people."

Messier wrapped up a spectacular 25-season NHL career with 6 Stanley Cups, 1 Conn Smythe Trophy, 2 Hart Trophys, 2 Lester B. Pearson Awards, and a lengthy list of hockey achievements. Messier ranks second on the NHL's all-time scoring list behind only longtime teammate Wayne Gretzky with 1,887 points, seventh in goals with 694, third in assists with 1,193, and second in games played with 1,756.

"When we won our first cup in 1984 that was the real reason we were playing for each and every year," said Messier when asked about his legacy in the NHL. "In the end, trying to win Stanley Cup was what we were playing for."

As an Edmonton Oiler, Messier is the fourth highest career scorer for the team, amassing 392 goals and 642 assists for 1,034 points in 851 games played. He was selected 48th overall in the third round of the 1979 NHL entry draft by the Edmonton Oilers, and was a major contributor in all five of the Oilers Stanley Cup Championships in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990.

Also elected Thursday were players Ron Francis, Al MacInnis and Scott Stevens. NHL executive Jim Gregory was voted in as a builder.

"We starred in an era that produced some amazing players - players that had incredibly long careers with numerous Stanley Cups to go along with it," Messier remarked on the 2007 Hockey Hall of Fame class. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for all the guys inducted this year. Their stats alone stand for themselves."

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made a statement on behalf of the inductees:

“The players elected today represent the epitome of hockey excellence. Their careers were distinguished by their skill, by their drive, by their refusal to accept anything less than the best. I congratulate the honorees and I commend the Selection Committee on having created a spectacular Class of 2007.

“It is a particular pleasure, as well, to salute Jim Gregory’s life-long devotion to hockey. Jim’s deep respect for the sport, his love for people and his countless contributions of time and energy to the betterment of the League are a source of pride to the NHL and to all who have the pleasure of knowing him.”

All four players were on the ballot for the first time. Other eligible players who didn't make it in included Adam Oates, Igor Larionov and Claude Lemieux.

The induction ceremony for the Hall, which allows a maximum of four players in each year, will be held Nov. 12.
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