Mark Messier in Charlevoix: still hockey in the blood

Mark Messier
Mark Messier
Although he only skates a few times a year for charity events, former NHL center Mark Messier still has hockey in his blood. Anyone who has just celebrated his 58th birthday would still not say no to a coaching or general manager position in the National League if the circumstances were good.

“Today, I’m rather busy being a daddy for Douglas (15 years) and Jacqueline (13), but, in the right circumstances, yes, I would analyze the opportunity. Because to succeed in such a position, you must be surrounded by the right people, “says the one who has coached his sons and nephews in minor hockey for many years in addition to leading Team Canada at the Spengler Cup and Nations Cup. of ice hockey in 2010. “In positions like these, it’s important to understand players’ psychology and how to communicate with them. Everyone is different and we have to adapt to each one, “explains in an interview with Le Soleil who takes part in the Winter Bauer 2019 Classic at the Baie-Saint-Paul Arena on Friday and at the Clermont Arena on Saturday. .

It is also clear that former number 11, who played for the Edmonton Oilers, the New York Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks, remained very committed to his first NHL team, where he played alongside Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey and Grant Fuhr. “You know, my nephew Luke Esposito is playing in the American League with the Bakersfield Condors. It’s the Oilers’ school team and I’m very proud that he’s part of this organization. He understands very well the whole story behind this team, “he notes.

Lot of change

At the same time, Messier is aware that hockey has changed a lot since then, and remains good to the Oilers, who have only played in the playoff series once since they last appeared in the Stanley Cup final. in 2006. “It’s not easy. The NHL is a really tough league, especially with 31 teams and soon 32. It’s not easy to make the playoffs and even a talented player like Connor McDavid can not do that alone. ”

“Hockey is always a very exciting and very fast sport, but I would say that today, you will see more talent spread throughout the team’s lineup. Also, fitness is better and training methods are better. However, I think the biggest difference between yesterday’s and today’s hockey is at the goalie level. This is obviously the position where there has been the most improvement over the years, “says Messier.

Messier also repeats that Quebec, and particularly Quebec City, always has a special place in his heart. “My first professional match (with the World Association’s Indianapolis Racers), I played it in Winnipeg against the Jets, but the second was at the Coliseum I played it against the Nordiques. I have always loved the fans of Quebec, their passion and the respect they had for our team when I played in Edmonton. They are people who know hockey and are passionate. I will let the National League do its work at this level, but we all hope that Quebec will have its team again because Quebec City has always been one of the places I preferred to play, one of the cities that I loved to visit. ”

At the end of the week, it is the region of Charlevoix that Messier will have the opportunity to visit on the occasion of the Bauer Winter Classic. He and eight other NHL alumni, including Simon Gagné, ex-Nordiques Michel Goulet and Dave Pichette, and former Canadiens Stéphane Quintal, Mathieu Darche and Mathieu Dandenault are taking part in this Pro-Am tournament, which also includes business people. as well as director Ricardo Trogi and comedian Daniel Savoie, well known for his hilarious hockey character Patrice Lemieux.

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