EDMONTON, ALBERTA – A lifetime of following sports and always searching for modern day heros finally led me to a very special place today. Before one jumps ahead, I wasn’t in search of Wayne Gretzky but the man that at the time might have been considered Robin to his Batman. The two teamed up to win Lord Stanley’s Cup four times in a five year span (1984,’85,’87,’88) but once the Oilers shipped The Great One down to Los Angles in 1989 most figured the Glory Days were long gone.
But Mark Messier is a leader to a degree that I haven’t seen before 1990 and other then Michael Jordan I am not sure anyone has approached his ability to take charge of a situation despite of the color of the Hockey Sweater he is wearing. Mess took over in 1990 and with a bit of help from Paul Coffey and friends they accomplished the unthinkable- bringing home a 5TH cup to the Oilers fans!
In the 1991-1992 season the Oilers were still strapped for revenue and Messier was on his way to New York and Madison Square Garden to play for the Rangers. Mess started the quest for Cup #6 and it would not take long…
In the 1993–94 NHL season, the Rangers rallied from down 3-2 in the Eastern finals to the New Jersey Devils after Mess went public with his guarantee of a Ranger victory. NY went on the win their first Cup in over 50 years at the expense of my beloved Vancouver Canucks in a thrilling seven game series.
Messier would spend three years in Vancouver but was unable to overcome being the man that broke the Canucks fans hearts back in 1994. That fact, coupled with fan favorite Trevor Linden trading his “C” for an “A”, led Messier back to the Rangers after the 2000 season.
Six titles with two teams leaves Messier as one of the best to lace up the skates and possibly one of the Greatest Leaders of his generation.