Next Messier enters the stage
by Juraj Hudak|27 DEC 2019
Ashley Messier once was in the U.S. camp but the relative of legendary Mark Messier gave her international debut with Team Canada at the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship.
photo: Steve Kingsman / HHOF-IIHF Images
The biggest dream of Ashley Messier is to play for Team Canada at the Olympics. caught up with her as she takes the first step towards that dream in Bratislava. 

You’ve started the tournament with close 3-2 OT win against Russia and beat Finland 4-1. Do you feel Canada can win gold again?

Yeah. I absolutely think that’s definitely our goal to go for the gold medals. We know there will be obviously hard game and battles, probably pretty close. I think we are expecting that. But yeah, we are going for gold.

You’ve said there will be hard games. Who would be the hardest opponent for you?

I think the rivals would be definitely the United States of America. We’ve had a chance to play with them in the summer in our series. Definitely familiar. They are our biggest rivals.

Your road to the Canadian U18 women’s national team is a bit unusual as it went through the U.S. ice hockey system. How did it happen?

I am dual citizen. In my very first year under-18 I was invited to the U.S. camp instead the Canadian one. So I went through that process, then turned out I was ineligible for IIHF terms to play for the U.S. The following year I was invited by the Canadians. I was really excited about that. Although I am a dual citizen, Canada always felt like my home. It really cut me off guard. The dream was always to play for Team Canada. But yeah, that is kind of a weird road to my destination, but I am really happy how it turned out.

How do the girls treat you in the dressing room?

Obviously my story is unusual, but they are great. We have a great team. I know I’ve played against them all. I knew lot of them before so it was a little strange, but they’re a great team and great group of girls so there was nothing too weird or difficult to adapt in the team. It was all good.

You came to Slovakia as defending champions. Canada always wants to play for gold and looks self-confident here. Do you ever feel the pressure?

Well, I guess there is a little pressure, but at the same time it’s what we all love to do. It’s fun. Like playing, winning, everything. More pressure is whenever it’s a tough game or you get scored on or loose, then it is obviously not fun. But we are having fun right now, this is great experience. It’s little bit of pressure, it’s mostly trying to enjoy it and do what we can and work the hardest.

Your surname sounds very familiar in hockey. Do you have any connection of Mark Messier?

Yeah, he is my father’s cousin. My father played with him in New York, but I am not in touch with him. I’ve seen some clips of my father playing with him and I know what a great reputation he has. Personally, I don’t know much about him.

Let’s talk about you again, when did you realize that you want to be a hockey player?

I think it was always there. Soon as I started playing it was just turning to this dream. My dad got me into it. It was always something I’ve known I wanted to be good at and wanted to get to the highest possible level. Ever since I remember it was my dream to play at the Olympic team of Canada.

So is that your the biggest dream of your career?

Definitely, Canadian Olympic team. That’s my goal so I am working for that.