Leader. Winner. Ambassador. Philanthropist. These are just a few words that the hockey world uses when describing Mark Messier. But in the city of Vancouver, only one word encapsulates the feelings Canucks fans’ have toward the NHL legend… villain.
When Messier arrived in Vancouver in 1998, its citizens were overjoyed at the prospect of adding a bonafide NHL legend to their already solid roster, establishing the team as a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup. History proved those feelings to be wishful at best. In all the three seasons Messier was in Vancouver, the Canucks found new ways to underachieve and missed the playoffs for the entirety of his tenure. Messier played the worst hockey of his career, averaging 17 goals, 38 assists and 54 points in a Canucks jersey, the lowest three-year offensive output of his career to that point. However, that’s not why Mark Messier is public enemy number one in Vancouver.
No, the hatred Canucks fans have for Messier is centered around his activity off the ice. Let’s take a look at the most egregious alleged actions of his time in Vancouver:
• Demanding #11 in his contract, even though the team had retired it in honor of Wayne Maki.
• Accepting the captaincy from Canucks hero, Trevor Linden.
• Pushing for the hiring of Mike Keenan, who immediately went to work on dismantling the roster.
• Helping Mike Keenan dismantle the roster in an advisory role.
• Filing a grievance against the Canucks in 2012, demanding more money for his time in Vancouver.
• Winning the case and being awarded a $6 million settlement.
No matter how many times one hears that Vancouver hates Mark Messier, nothing truly exhibits the notion better than raw, gut reaction. Here is a tweet sent out by the official Twitter of EA Sports NHL 19.
Grab some popcorn, kick your legs up and enjoy some of the vitriol found in the replies.