CELEBRITY TRAVEL CORNER
Hockey star Mark Messier is a man with a big heart.
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.