CALGARY – Hockey Canada named Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Messier the head coach of Canada’s national teams at the Deutschland Cup and Spengler Cup.
It is the first time the 49-year-old will coach since ending his playing career in 2004.
Messier played for Canada at the 1984, 1987 and 1991 Canada Cups, the 1989 IIHF World Championship and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. He had nine goals and 23 assists for 32 points in 38 games with Team Canada.
Messier, who currently works as a special assistant to general manager Glen Sather with the New York Rangers, was Team Canada’s general manager at the 2010 IIHF World Championship.
The St. Albert, Alberta, native is a legendary figure in North American hockey. He is a six-time Stanley Cup champion, a two-time Hart Trophy winner as NHL MVP and played in 15 NHL All-Star Games in his 25-year career, during which he racked up 1,887 points in 1,756 regular-season games for the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers.
“I am excited for this opportunity to coach Canada on the world stage,” said Messier. “I have always taken pride in representing Canada at an international level as a player, and look forward to the challenges in front of us at the Deutschland Cup and Spengler Cup.”
While it’s yet to be decided who will coach the men’s national team at the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia, Messier is definitely a candidate after this appointment.
At the Deutschland Cup in Munich, Germany, November 12-14, Canada will mostly be made up of players from the German league. The roster will be announced in the next two weeks. Team Canada will face the national teams from Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland. Ingolstadt’s Rich Chermonaz will serve as an assistant coach.
The Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland, December 26-31, features club teams that can boost their rosters with up to five additional players. The teams are HC Davos (SUI), Genève-Servette (SUI), SKA St. Petersburg (RUS), Spartak Moscow (RUS), Sparta Prague (CZE) and the Canadian entry.
Messier will be assisted by Doug Shedden, head coach of Switzerland's EV Zug, at the Spengler Cup. Canada’s roster will mostly include Canadians from the Swiss league and other European leagues.