Wed, Nov 14, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Messier inducted into the ice hockey Hall of Fame

AFP , TORONTO

Canada's Mark Messier, who is the National Hockey League's second all-time leading scorer, headlined a superb cast of Hall of Fame player inductees here on Monday.

Scott Stevens, Ron Francis and Al MacInnis joined the six-time Stanley Cup winner Messier in being enshrined to the ice hockey Hall of Fame.

Two-time Stanley Cup winner Francis had strong seasons with Pittsburgh, Hartford and Carolina while Stevens and MacInnis were all-star defensemen for many years.

The 46-year-old Messier recalled winning five Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers and his final one in 1994 in New York.

"What can I say about the opportunities I've had ... the cities I've played in," Messier said.

"Starting with Edmonton, with five Cups, the friendships and the opportunities I've had with those teams," he said.

Messier posted a hat trick (three goals) in game six of the 1994 semi-finals against the New Jersey Devils with the Rangers trailing 3-2 before they went on to win the series.

He scored the Cup-clinching goal in the seventh game of the final against Vancouver.

Considered a great leader, Messier was a first-team All-Star four times in an era that featured both Edmonton teammate Wayne Gretzky and Canadian national team teammate Mario Lemieux at the same position.

Messier is the NHL's second-leading scorer with 1,887 points (694 goals, 1,193 assists) and finished 11 games shy of Gordie Howe's all-time record of 1,767 games played.

Francis, 44, echoed many of the Messier's sentiments.

"I wouldn't be here without the more than 360 teammates that I've been honored to play along with during my 23 years in the league," Francis said.

Francis, who is second all-time in assists (1,249) and fourth in points (1,798) while playing 23 seasons, won the Lady Byng for gentlemanly play three times.

Stevens, 43, was known for his competitive fire and bone-crunching checks as well as solid defensive play.

Stevens was drafted fifth overall by the Washington Capitals in 1982 and played one year with the St. Louis Blues before finishing his career with the Devils.

MacInnis, 44, a star defenseman who once had the hardest slap shot in the league, also will be known as the first player from the Canadian province of Nova Scotia to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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