Thursday, November 10, 2005

Tornado's Messier carving a name for himself

By Matt Mackinder
USA Junior Hockey Magazine

The last name is about all Lyon Messier has in common with his father, the recently-retired Mark Messier.

The elder Messier is a surefire Hall of Famer while Lyon, an 18-year-old rookie with the Texas Tornado, plays defense and is a long way from his father’s totals (by comparison, Mark was in the NHL at 18).

“I’ve always wanted to play pro hockey and if college is the way to go, then so be it,” said Messier, also noting he hasn’t received any NCAA offers yet. “Right now, I just want to help the team here progress and if we win a championship at the end of the season, that’s a bonus.”

Tornado coach-GM Tony Curtale said not a day goes by that the all-too familiar topic comes up.

“People always ask him about his dad and what it’s like to be his son,” Curtale said. “But for the most part, I think Lyon tries to block that out and tries to be a successful player on his own.”

The 6-foot, 190-pound Messier agreed with his coach’s assumption.

“Everyone thinks that having a father like that would be different, but really my childhood was just like any other childhood,” Messier said. “It just happened that my father was a good hockey player and he and I played a game that we both love.

“I might have gotten noticed a lot because of my last name, but I want to play my game for who I am and get noticed that way.”

Messier was born in Virginia and played hockey there until he was 14 when he moved with his mother to Michigan. There, he played Bantam AAA for Little Caesars and then played Junior B with the Tecumseh (Ontario) Chiefs for two years. Now, he’s elevated his game again to play with Texas.

“I was in Tecumseh and my grandfather made a few calls,” admitted Messier. “I went and played in a prospects tournament and the (Tornado) coaches saw me and invited me down and tendered me.

“It took a couple games to get used to the game here because it’s so different than in Canada, but the atmosphere is great here and definitely the highest and most elite level I’ve played.”

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