New York Rangers icon and one of the National Hockey League's all-time greatest players, Mark Messier, announced today that his legendary career has come to a close after 25 storied seasons.
Known simply as "The Captain", Messier's leadership skills and intangible qualities are as well known and documented as his incredible list of on-ice accomplishments. He leaves the game ranking second on the NHL's all-time scoring list with 1,887 points. In addition, Messier places seventh in goals with 694, third in assists with 1,193 and second in games played with 1,756.
Messier, a two-time recipient of the Hart Trophy, as the league's Most Valuable Player ('90, '92), has appeared in the second most playoff contests in National Hockey League history (236) and also ranks second in goals (109), assists (186) and points (295). The winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1984 as the Most Valuable Player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Messier is a six-time Stanley Cup Champion, captaining the 1990 Edmonton Oilers and the 1994 New York Rangers. Messier is the first player to have served as captain for two different teams winning the Stanley Cup.
Originally drafted by Edmonton, as their second choice, 48th overall, in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, the native of Edmonton, Alberta, began his illustrious NHL career in 1979 with the Edmonton Oilers. In 12 seasons with the Oilers, he played a vital role in the club's five Stanley Cup Championships ('84, '85, '87, '88, '90). The Oilers captain from 1988 to 1991, Messier ranks third on the Oilers all-time scoring list with 1,034 points, while placing second in assists with 851 and fourth in goals with 392. He is among the Oilers top five players in penalty minutes (4th, 1122), power play goals (4th, 89), shorthanded goals (2nd, 36), game winning goals (4th, 43) and hat tricks (4th, 13). Messier ranks second on the Oilers career playoff scoring list with 215 points in 166 playoff matches. He also ranks first with 11 shorthanded goals during the post-season.
The 16-time NHL All-Star joined the Rangers on October 4, 1991 in one of the most significant transactions in the history of the organization. Messier was acquired from Edmonton in exchange for Bernie Nicholls, Steven Rice and Louie Debrusk. He was named captain in his first home game as a Ranger on October 7, 1991 following his Rangers debut in Montreal, on October 5. In his first season with the club, Messier guided the team to the President's Trophy, leading the team in scoring with 107 points and capturing his second Hart Trophy. He set a Rangers record for most assists by a center, with 72, while becoming just the fifth player in franchise history to reach the 100-point plateau.
In 1993-94, Messier led the Rangers to their second President's Trophy in three seasons and carried the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup Championship in 54 years. He set a Rangers playoff record with 12 post-season goals, including the Stanley Cup winning tally on June 14, 1994, as the Rangers defeated Vancouver, 3-2, to win Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. Messier, who ranks seventh all-time with four career playoff hat tricks, recorded his most memorable three or more goal game on May 25, at New Jersey in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals, netting three goals, including the game-tying and game-winning tallies. He ranks second on the Rangers all-time playoff scoring list with 80 points, placing second in goals (29) and assists (51).
A four-time NHL First Team All-Star and two-time winner of the Lester B. Pearson Award as the league MVP as voted by the players, Messier ranks sixth on the Rangers all-time scoring list with 691 points. Named the club's MVP in 1992, 1995 and 1996, he places eighth all-time in goals with 250 and seventh in assists with 441. Messier holds Rangers club records for Most Game Winning Goals, Playoff Year (four, '94), Most Points, Playoff Series (11, '94 Conference Finals), Most Shorthanded Goals, Single Game (two, Apr. 21, 1992 vs. New Jersey) and Most Goals, One Period (three, May 25, 1994 at New Jersey).
In international competition, Messier helped lead Team Canada to three Canada Cup Championships in 1984, 1987 and 1991. In addition, he represented his country in the 1989 World Championships and served as an alternate captain for Team Canada in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.
In addition to his numerous on-ice achievements and accomplishments, Messier has been among the finest of the National Hockey League's community ambassadors. Upon arriving in New York in 1991, he notched one of his finest assists when he joined the Tomorrows Children's Fund team. Located in Hackensack, New Jersey, the TCF is a privately funded, non-profit organization that eases the pain and suffering of children fighting cancer and serious blood disorder. Messier, who has helped raise millions of dollars for TCF, will officially open the Mark Messier Skyway at the Hackensack University Medical Center this fall.
The 6-2, 210 pound center skated in his final NHL game on March 31, 2004 vs. Buffalo at Madison Square Garden while netting his final NHL goal. In 1756 career games with Edmonton, New York and Vancouver, Messier registered 694 goals, 1193 assists for 1887 points.