DREAMSCAPES WINTER 2018/2019
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CELEBRITY TRAVEL CORNER - MARK MESSIER
 
(2018 - Fall Issue)

Writer: BRUCE SACH



Mark Messier may be a hockey star but it’s his generosity that earned him hero status.

Former hockey superstar and Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Messier retired from hockey in 2004. He had led the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup win in 54 years and was a huge part of the five Stanley Cups won in Edmonton during the Oilers’ glory years. Having grown up just north of Edmonton in a well-known Western Canadian hockey family, he was a story-come-true hometown boy. He famously predicted the Rangers would win game six in a must-win situation and went on to score a third period hat trick that ensured his team’s win.

He became the only player in the NHL to captain two different teams to Stanley Cup victories and ranks third in all-time NHL scoring and second in playoff scoring. “The Moose” Messier was universally recognized as a great team leader who garnered a new nickname, The Messiah, after saving the Rangers.

However, Mark Messier did not see his Order of Canada upgraded to Officer of the Order of Canada by merely sitting on his laurels. No, it was his charity work that caught the eye of Rideau Hall.

Although he is involved in many charities that include hospitals and hockey, it is probably his First Shift operation that garners the most attention, as it supplies basic hockey equipment to children who otherwise might not be able to start the sport.

I spoke to this big-hearted Canadian after the Order of Canada ceremonies in Ottawa in May, 2018.

Was there a eureka moment when you decided to become involved in charities?

As a player with the Edmonton Oilers, we were involved with the Alberta Lung Association. Seeing babies in distress made me feel incredibly responsible to try and help.

What’s your favourite place to visit in Canada?

Both coasts, and everything in between. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen all of Canada.

What do you do in your leisure time?

Sports, fishing, golfing, hiking, travelling, theatre and the arts.

And flying your own plane?

Yes, I flew my family up here for the ceremony.

Isn’t there a connection between flying and your resort in the Bahamas?

Well, yes. Since deciding to run a resort with my family on Harbour Island, I learned how to fly. Getting to Harbour Island is not easy, but that’s one reason why people love it.

You played for Edmonton, New York and Vancouver. Do you have a favourite team?

I still watch a lot of games and am partial to the teams I played for.

What do you love most about Canada?

The people, the genuine nature of the Canadian people. That galvanizes us as a people.

What’s the thing people might be surprised to learn about you?

All has been revealed, previously.

 
 
 
 
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