Recap: Mark Messier on his rink project and the infamous Gary Coleman photo

RANGERS DEVILSMark Messier was a guest on Hockey Night in Canada Radio on 1/28 and said:

  • On being part of the rink project in the Bronx after spending so much time in NY,”That is part of where we are standing here today, when we won the Cup in 94 we inspired a lot of sports fans and kids who found out that if they wanted to play hockey or wanted to continue to play hockey it was going to be tough. It was disappointing to me and one of the problems in this area is real estate and trying to get the land and this is a city owned building and a landmark that has sat vacant for 20 years as it tries to find the best use for the community. We were able to sell the idea and the dream to the people in the Bronx that it was a future place for their kids and after school programs and overall it’s a huge imitative and to have the opportunity to grow the game of hockey, to be part of that it’s an incredible project and I am happy to be part of it.”

  • Who would be playing there, “First, the name is the Kingsbridge National Ice Center so when we started…we have Sara Hughes the Gold Medalist figure skater from the US on our team so figure skating and hockey were the main focuses but we quickly got calls from Curling, who took out one rink completely, synchronized ice skating has called about a rink, short track speed skating so this is a building that will house all ice sports and we didn’t even expect that when we were putting the plan together. We want to be a center for excellence in all ice sports, hockey will be a big part of it. We want to get a junior league team there, we have talked with some colleges from the Manhattan area and we would like to get a semi-pro team, AHL caliber team in there. We have a 5,000 seat event space that can transform into concerts so it’s the real deal, a $320 million dollar project so we have the capital to make it a center of excellence.”
  • On his future, “this did fall at a good time for me. I am doing work with Bauer over the next ten years to try to grow the game by a million extra players so another chance to be an ambassador for the game and get new families and new kids into the game and dispel the fears that surround the game. It’s a big initiative. I think the NHL hockey will always be part of my life and I have never ruled anything out. I have been helping out Edmonton as an adviser to get them another set of eyes and be in contact with Craig and the team there. I love that and love being part of building something, that is why Kingsbridge is so exciting but I love the opportunity of trying to build a Stanley Cup winning team too so I am keeping my eyes and ears open to any opportunity that might look good but I think Kingsbridge will be a solid 3-5 years to get it launched and get it going and in the meantime we will see what happens.”
  • On who he likes to watch in the NHL, “I was surrounded by some of the best players who ever played the game but also can’t forget all the role players who did their jobs to make the teams successful and that can never be overlooked and over analyzed. The glue pieces, the glue guys that didn’t get enough credit and did a lot of work in the trenches to make the skill guys job easier. That is part of building a team and getting guys who can cover multiple areas and not being one dimensional and play different kinds of games and styles. I can’t remember another time in the game with so many good, young talented players. Just pick a team and you probably have 2 or 3 guys who are extremely talented. Sidney Crosby is a guy who can play in any era. He has skill but is also one the top corner players in the league. His combo of strength, finesse, skill, grit are unmatched. Toews and Kane in Chicago, Ovechkin, defenseman, you can just go down the line and I am probably missing 10-20 guys off the top of my head and Crosby for me is a great mix of talent, grit and power.”
  • On the Heritage Classic in 2003 when he was still with the Rangers, “there are times and moments that go on during the year that are bigger than the game itself. The outdoor games have become that. It’s bigger than the game, it’s about the history and preserving the history and we always meed to be reminded that there are a lot of players who laid the groundwork for the players on the ice. We gotta do and continue to do a great job of preserving the history of the game. These outdoor games are a good time to reflect on the games. “
  • On the Messier and Gary Coleman picture, “that was a time when they allowed beer in the dressing room (laughs) that was a long time ago. I think picture was from when different strokes was the hottest TV show on TV and we had just won a playoff series and the crew was in Edmonton doing something, god only knows what, and they were guests of the Oilers and made their way down to the locker room and to my surprise, pictures were taken… and in the days before the Internet we didn’t have to worry about them (laughs). Somehow that surfaced. Gary Coleman was a huge star at that time and we were pretty excited to have him in the dressing room.”