How Mark Messier became the most hated player in Vancouver Canucks history 

2017 NHL Humanitarian Awards
How Mark Messier became the most hated player in Vancouver Canucks history

Mark Messier is one of the greatest players to ever play hockey. He ranks second in games played, seventh in goals, and third in assists and points in NHL history, winning a Conn Smythe Trophy and two Hart Trophies. Messier's teams won six Stanley Cups, earning him a reputation as one of history's greatest captains.

In the NHL, he played for three different clubs. His jersey was retired by the Edmonton Oilers and the New York Rangers, respectively. Messier is one of the most adored players in the annals of the two clubs and a hero to their followers.

However, Messier is the most despised Canucks player in Vancouver, where he joined as a free agent on this day in 1998. Messier struck a chord that no other Canucks player ever did.

Canucks supporters online pour unmatched hatred at the slightest mention of Messier. In 2014, boos reverberated around BC Place at the Heritage Classic as advertisements depicting the former Canucks captain appeared on the stadium's large screen. Every time they put Messier on TV, he receives massive criticism.

Throughout history, photos of each team captain have adorned the walls of the Captains' Club bar in Rogers Arena. Messier's photograph was included, even though it remains hidden.

In the city, if you still sport a Canucks jersey with Messier's No. 11 on the back, you are likely to draw stares and mockery from the locals.

Mark Messier undelivered on expectations and blew up a team

Mark Messier
Mark Messier

It's easy to forget that Mark Messier's free agency signing with the Canucks was a joyful occasion in Vancouver. At his first news conference on July 28, 1997, Messier lifted his arms while donning a brand-new Canucks jersey, the team's first to feature the orca insignia.

Messier was viewed as the missing piece for a Canucks team that had been within a game of winning the Cup just three years prior. He was given a five-year deal worth $6 million a season with a $2 million buyout option after the third year (which the Canucks exercised).

He became the captain and got the No. 11 jersey. But the season fell into disarray due to internal squabbles between Messier and former captain Trevor Linden.

Coaches were replaced. Messier's production also went down. He had a 99-point season only two seasons before joining. For the Canucks, Messier only had 60, 48, and 54 points, which was a far cry from his days as a Ranger. Many beloved players like Kirk McLean, Dave Babych, Martin Gelinas, and Gino Odjick were given away.

Messier returned to play for New York in 2000 and had 67 points. In 2005, he also won an arbitration suit worth $6 million against the Canucks. He had a clause that stated that the franchise would compensate if its value increases over the period of his contract.

These factors contributed to Messier still being the most-hated player in Canucks history.

Quick Links

Edited by Piyush Bisht
App download animated image Get the free App now