- Jeff Merron
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One of hockey's all-time greats called it quits Monday at age 44. Here is a quick recap of Mark Messier's career highlights:
Jan. 18, 1961: Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
1965: Starts going to his father's minor league practices.
1972: Becomes stick boy for Spruce Grove Mets of the Alberta Junior
1976: Plays first game with Spruce Grove of the AJHL.
1978: At age 17, debuts with the Indianapolis Racers of the World
Hockey Association, playing five games (another 17-year-old named Wayne Gretzky plays eight games with the Racers that season). Twenty-five years later, Messier will be the last active WHA player to play in the NHL.
1979: Plays 47 games for the Cincinnati Stingers of the WHA.
1979: Drafted in third round of NHL entry draft by the Edmonton
Oilers, the 48th pick overall.
1979: Makes NHL debut with Oilers. In his rookie season, scores 12
goals and adds 21 assists for 33 points. The Oilers, starring Gretzky, finish 28-39-13, one of the worst records in the NHL that season.
1981-82: Named first-team NHL All-Star; finishes season with 50 goals
for the first and only time in his career.
1982-83: Named first-team NHL All-Star. Finishes with 48 goals and 56
assists for a total of 106 points, the first of six seasons in which Messier tops the 100-point mark.
1983-84: The Oilers end the New York Islanders' four-year reign as Stanley Cup champs by beating the Islanders in five games. Messier scores 26 points in the playoffs and wins Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP.
1988: Named captain of the Oilers after Wayne Gretzky is traded to the Los Angeles Kings.
1989-90: Leads Oilers to fifth Stanley Cup title in seven years with career-high 129 points and is named NHL MVP (Hart Trophy) and NHL most outstanding player (Lester B. Pearson Trophy, voted on by players).
Oct. 4, 1991: After 12 seasons with Edmonton, traded from the Oilers to the New York Rangers for Bernie Nichols, Steven Rice and Louie DeBrusk.
1991-92: In first year in New York, Messier is named MVP and most
1994: Prior to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, with the
Rangers trailing New Jersey 3 games to 2, Messier guarantees a
victory. He scores three goals in the third period to force a seventh game. The Rangers go on to beat the Devils and then the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals, as Messier scores the Game 7 Cup-winning
goal. It's the Rangers first Stanley Cup in 54 years.
July 28, 1997: Messier, a free agent, signs with the Canucks.
Oct. 1998: Scores 600th career goal.
July 13, 2000: After three years with Canucks, Messier rejoins the
Rangers and is immediately named team captain again.
2000-01: Messier finishes the season with 24 goals, his 17th NHL
season with 20-plus tallies.
Nov. 2003: Reunites with former Oiler teammates Wayne Gretzky, Grant
Fuhr and Paul Coffey to play an outdoors "Legends" game at
Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
Nov. 4, 2003: Scores two goals as the Rangers beat the Dallas Stars 3-0. With the first goal, he ties Gordie Howe for the No. 2 spot on the all-time scoring list. With the second, he takes sole possession
with his 1,851st point.
Nov. 16, 2003: In a 2-2 tie against the Blackhawks, scores his 684th
career goal, to pass Mario Lemieux and move into seventh on the
all-time goals list. In the same game, he records career assist No.
1,170, moving up to No. 3 on the all-time list.
Jan. 4, 2004: Named Player of the Week for first time in seven seasons.
2004: Plays in 15th career NHL All-Star Game.
2003-04: Scores 18 goals and adds 25 assists. At end of 2004 season,
his 25th in the NHL, he boasts totals of 1,756 games, 694 goals, and
1,193 assists (1,887 career points).
Sept. 12, 2004: Messier, age 44, announces his retirement. In addition
to the regular-season accomplishments noted elsewhere, he's played on
six Stanley Cup winners and ends his career second in all-time playoff
points, goals and assists.