Messier


My feelings about Mark Messier getting to the Hall of Fame were covered in June here. He was a tremendous player for a long time and then an average one for awhile. Many people reading this blog can probably visualize Messier flying down the offwing and firing a lethal and patented shot shelf. I’m happy he’s going to Cooperstown.

This is his Dad. Doug Messier. He played for the Edmonton Flyers 61-63 (Mark was born in January 1961 in Edmonton) and the Oil Kings in junior hockey in the mid-50s.

Once turning pro, Messier toiled in the Western Hockey League (the old pro league, not the juniors) from 1961-69, mostly for Portland.

He wore number 11. After his playing career he coached the St Albert Saints and the Moncton Alpines, but his major contribution to hockey was fathering and raising one crazy-ass hockey player.

Many people have forgotten this, but Doug Messier was his son’s agent when Mark Messier was an Oiler. It was not always a happy relationship between the Messier’s and the Oilers. Here’s the quick story from hockeydraftcentral:

Messier missed the first three weeks of Edmonton’s 1987 training camp in a contract dispute with the Oilers front office. Although he was still under contract to Edmonton, Messier joined teammate Paul Coffey in announcing after the Canada Cup that they would not report to training camp until the final two years of their contracts were renegotiated. At first, it appeared his holdout would be short-lived, however.

After visiting his brother Paul in West Germany, Messier met with Edmonton general manager and coach Glen Sather and got assurances that he said made it possible for him to return on Sept. 25, 1987. Messier and his father Doug, who was serving as his agent, changed their minds once it came time to report, and Messier insisted he would not return without a renegotiated contract.

One day before the start of the 1987-88 season, Messier and the Oilers announced they had a new six-year deal that nearly doubled Messier’s 1987-88 salary to more than $600,000. Messier played in the season opener but did not officially sign a new contract until September 1988.

Messier’s more than 12 years with the Edmonton Oilers came to a bitter end when he was traded to N.Y. Rangers on Oct. 4, 1991. Considerable drama led up to the deal that literally stripped the Oilers of their heart and soul. The dispute dated back to the summer of 1990, when Messier and his agent-father Doug were rebuffed on their bid to renegotiate Messier’s 1990-91 contract, despite the fact that Messier still owed two seasons to Edmonton.

Doug Messier insisted on guarantees that Mark would be the NHL’s third-highest paid player, but Edmonton general manager Glen Sather would not make such a promise. This stirred talk of a trade, including a rumor that Sather had told Doug Messier to find the best deal possible during the 1990-91 season. Prior to the 1991 Canada Cup tournament, in August 1991, Edmonton offered Messier a renegotiated deal of $10 million over five years, but during the Canada Cup tournament in late August 1991, Messier publicly declared he’d had enough with the Edmonton organization and requested a trade, saying he had likely played his last game for the Oilers. Teammates rallied in support of Messier, but the stalemate with Sather was too much to overcome.

Messier said he did not believe the Oilers were committed to winning anymore, and he would not play for a team that wasn’t competing for the Stanley Cup. The drama finally ended on the day of the Oilers’ 1991-92 season-opener when Messier was dealt to the Rangers, who had opened their 1991-92 season the previous night.

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6 Responses to "Messier"

  1. James Mirtle says:

    I was looking at this last night after Mess was on with Ron MacLean yesterday: Isn’t it bizarre how his older brother, Paul, was actually a far better player in Junior A? It looks like the elder Messier was quite a bit smaller, which may have been the reason, but they were both drafted in about the same spot, one year apart.

    Paul had a long pro career, but only a cup of coffee in the NHL. Little brother turned out to be one of the greatest players of all-time.

    Go figure.

  2. Mr DeBakey says:

    “Messier said he did not believe the Oilers were committed to winning”

    Is this why, not the $100 big per, Smyth didn’t sign with the 90% of cap Oilers?

  3. Steve says:

    I don’t think so. I think he was actually shocked to be traded, thinking that he and the Oilers would work something out after the trading deadline. Otherwise, he’s a hell of an actor.

  4. Black Dog says:

    Looks like the groundswell is beginning to build for one of his running mates. A lot of the speculation about next year has centred on Anderson and it looks like he will join Gretzky, Kurri, Messier, Coffey and Fuhr.

    Team for the ages.

    Honestly I believe this has everything to do with Lowe not signing Smyth and the whole ‘elite player’ tag. Lowe played on one of the greatest collections of talent in hockey history. In his mind, Smyth should have scored the goals Pisani did. And if he had he would still be an Oiler.

  5. Dennis says:

    Pat, I don’t think much of Kevin Lowe, no surpise there, but it’s the bloody truth. But if the ’06 playoff run was the reason why he decided not to re-sign Smyth, well, then, I’d think even less of him.

    I think Lowe’s just a hothead who can’t stand losing any kind of battle. Once he knew smyth wasn’t going to totally give in, he made an impulsive move that will wind up to be a huge black mark on the team unless Penner really turns out great.

    Sad to hear that’s how it ended for Mess and the Oil, though. All I had back then was the evening telegram, that’s the southam paper based out of st. john’s, so, obviously, I wasn’t getting a lot of Oiler news at the time.

  6. HBomb says:

    Is this why, not the $100 big per, Smyth didn’t sign with the 90% of cap Oilers?

    Ok, I’m not the only one who saw the potential parallels with Smyth-gate when reading this….

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