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Dreger: Messier accepts Worlds job; Gretzky to coach?

Darren Dreger
12/8/2009 6:46:11 PM
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Considering all of the "big" names associated with Canada's Olympic team, Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky surfaced as the obvious targets when word leaked out Hockey Canada was about to announce its general manager for the 2010 world hockey championships.

Messier accepted the job - Hockey Canada made it official Wednesday - and some close to both former NHL superstars raise the possibility Gretzky will be considered as Canada's head coach.

Sources close to Messier say he's "very excited" about his opportunity and the challenges he may face in constructing a strong lineup on the heels of the winter Olympics.

Hockey Canada president, Bob Nicholson is no dummy.  He understands the commitment NHL players make to their teams and their countries and for some, a trip to Germany for the world hockey championships may not be high on their list of priorities, but having a GM with Messier's stature will help.

Steve Yzerman was given the same task prior to the 2008 World's, a tournament on home soil, where Hockey Canada needed to ice its best.

Yzerman admits he was surprised by the number of players, primarily younger players, who didn't want to play for their country when given the chance.

Messier may have to deal with similar disappointments.

As for Wayne Gretzky; if he wants to coach in the NHL again, a trip to Germany and a world championship title may help pave the way.

Darren Dreger

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