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Mark Messier resigns from New York Rangers organization

Mark Messier was passed over in the Rangers' search for a new head coach. (Bennett Raglin/Getty Images) Mark Messier was passed over by the Rangers in their search for a new head coach. (Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

In less than a week, Mark Messier has gone from campaigning to be the next head coach of the New York Rangers to resigning from the organization.

Six days after the Rangers hired Alain Vigneault as head coach, Messier and the Rangers issued a statement regarding his resignation. The Edmonton Oilers and Rangers legend who had served as a special assistant to team president and general manager Glen Sather for the last four years, said his being passed over for the coaching job did not factor into his resignation. Messier instead cited an opportunity involving the Kingsbridge National Ice Center.

Here's Messier's statement distributed on the Rangers' website:

“I would like to thank the New York Rangers and particularly Glen Sather for giving me the opportunity over the last four years to work with the Rangers. I am resigning my position with the Team to pursue an opportunity to expand the game of hockey in the New York area by developing the Kingsbridge National Ice Center. Although some will perceive this as a reaction to the coaching decision, nothing could be further from the truth. I completely respect the decision that was made and for all the reasons it was made. I harbor no hard feelings toward Glen or the Rangers. This is a personal choice I am making to create a program in the New York area that will give our children more choices and opportunities in the future. I wish the Rangers nothing but the best in the future.“

Sather also offered a statement:

“Mark Messier will always be a part of the New York Rangers family. As a player and then as part of the management team, he brought incomparable passion and dedication to the organization. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Last week, a New York Post report said Messier was "very disappointed" that he didn't get the head coaching job over Vigneault. Messier's lack of minor-league or NHL coaching experience was debated during the Rangers' coaching search.
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