Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Girl with familiar hockey last name debuts with U.S.A.

Messier has made her mark with SFMAAAHL champion Stars

Defender Ashley Messier is carving her own mark in the sport of hockey.
    Smooth skating Ashley Messier likely won’t be able to dart around her family lineage when she makes her international hockey debut with the U.S.A.
    On Thursday, Messier will suit up for the United States under-18 women’s team as they take on Canada’s under-18 women’s side in the first of a three-game series hosted at the Markin MacPhail Centre - WinSport Arena in Calgary, Alta. That contest will mark the first time the 16-year-old defender has worn international colours.
Ashley Messier earned SFMAAAHL all-star status last season.
    Odds are high Messier will do something to turn heads, and obvious thoughts will circle around her last name.
    Ashley’s father is Regina, Sask., product Joby Messier, who way back in 1987-88 helped the Notre Dame Hounds win a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League title and the Centennial Cup for junior A hockey supremacy as a defenceman. Joby played four seasons with the Michigan State University Spartans men’s hockey team from 1988 to 1992 and 25 regular season games scattered over three seasons for the NHL’s New York Rangers from 1992 to 1995.
    Joby currently coaches professional hockey in Sweden.
Ashley Messier has committed to join the NCAA ranks in 2020-21.
    Uncle Mitch Messier, who is Joby’s older brother, starred for four seasons at right wing for the Spartans from 1983 to 1987 and appeared in 20 NHL regular season games scattered over four seasons from 1987 to 1991 with the Minnesota North Stars.
    Their cousin is Mark Messier.
    Yep. The Mark Messier who won five Stanley Cup rings as a member of the Edmonton Oilers in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990 and a sixth Stanley Cup rink with the Rangers in 1994.
    If Ashley does something good wearing a U.S.A. jersey in the three-game series that runs through to Sunday, odds are extremely high a media member will ask about the family connection. The fact the series is being held in Calgary will add to that likelihood, as Mark had countless rivalry battles with the NHL’s Calgary Flames as a member of the Oilers.
Ashley Messier is a skill offensive-defender.
    Having lived just over a year in Michigan when she was really young, Ashley picked up the nickname “Mouse” due to the fact she stands 5-foot-3, but she has already begun making her mark in hockey as a member of the Saskatoon Stars of the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League.
    Her playing style is more similar to that of Paul Coffey, who starred as an offensive defenceman on those dynasty Oilers teams in Edmonton. Ashley has a seemly effortless finesse style to her game.
    If called upon, she can mix it up physically like Mark, if someone wants to take a shot at her.
    As a 14-year-old underage player in the 2016-17 season, Ashley posted three goals and eight assists in 28 regular season games for the Stars and added six assists in nine SFMAAAHL playoff games.
    In September of 2017 at age 15, she committed to joining the Cornell University Big Red women’s hockey team for the start of the 2020-21 National Collegiate Athletic Association season.
    Former teammate and Stars captain Willow Slobodzian is already a member of the Big Red women’s team.
Ashley Messier is almost unstoppable going coast-to-coast with the puck.
    Messier showed huge improvement in her 15-year-old sophomore campaign this past season with the Stars. She piled up three goals and 23 assists appearing in all 28 of the Stars regular season games helping Saskatoon finish first in the SFMAAAHL with a 24-3-1 record and earning individual league second team all-star honours.
    In the playoffs, Messier picked up two goals and five assists helping the Stars win the Fedoruk Cup as league champions for the third time in four years. From there, Messier helped the Stars sweep the Eastman Selects 2-0 in a best-of-three Western regional playdown series to advance to the Esso Cup national championship tournament.
    At the Esso Cup in late April in Bridgewater, N.S., Messier picked up a goal and six assists in seven games for the Stars helping them advance to the event’s championship game for the first time in team history.
Ashley Messier, middle centre, enjoy a Stars SFMAAAHL title win.
    The Stars fell in the national final 2-1 to the Alberta-based St. Albert Slash, who repeated as Esso Cup champions. 
    Messier was named the Stars player of the game in the tournament final and took home honours as the top defender at the Esso Cup.
    When you see someone that stands 5-foot-3 like Messier does, there can be doubts about her playing the women’s game at the higher levels because doesn’t stand 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9. She has already proven that size doesn’t matter.
    Noting the fact that Joby stand 6-foot-1 and Mitch stands 6-foot-2, it is possible that Ashley might still have a growth spurt and her height will match the size of her game.
    In the present, she might still be scratching the surface of how good she can be in the game. The U.S.A. national team jersey might fit Messier well into the future.

Shirley sisters suit up for Canada

Grace Shirley will return to play for Canada’s under-18 team.
    When Ashley Messier hits the ice for the United States under-18 women’s team, she will see a familiar foe.
    The U.S.A. faces Canada’s under-18 women’s team in a three-game series beginning Thursday at the Markin MacPhail Centre - WinSport Arena in Calgary, Alta. Canada’s roster features one of Messier’s teammates with the SFMAAAHL champion Saskatoon Stars in 17-year-old forward Grace Shirley.
    In 82 regular season games, the Saskatoon, Sask., product ranks fourth all-time in career SFMAAAHL regular season goals with 70 and 10th in career regular season points with 118. Last season, Shirley was the fourth leading scorer in the SFMAAAHL piling up 30 goals and 18 assists in 23 regular season games. Her goal and assist totals were both career highs.
    Shirley was a member of Canada’s under-18 team last season, when Canada won a bronze medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Under-18 Women’s World Championship in Dmitrov, Russia.
    Stars forward Joelle Fiala, Wapella, Sask., product Allison Hayhurst, who is a 17-year-old defender from the Melville Prairie Fire, and Regina, Sask., product Kennedy Bobyck, who is a 17-year-old forward with the Calgary, Alta., based Edge School Mountaineers female prep team, all attended the selection camp for the under-18 Canadian team but weren’t chosen to play in the series against the U.S.A.
Grace Shirley (#14) enjoys scoring a SFMAAAHL finals goal for the Stars.
    Also on Thursday, Canada’s National Development Women’s Hockey team will begin a three-game series against the United States National Development Women’s team at the Markin MacPhail Centre - WinSport Arena in Calgary, Alta. The series runs through to Sunday. The national development women’s team contests follow the under-18 women’s games.
    The roster for Canada’s National Development Women’s Team includes Stars alumnae Sophie Shirley, who is a 19-year-old forward and Grace’s older sister. The elder Shirley played last season with the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
    Plenty, Sask., product Jaycee Gebhard, who is a 21-year-old forward and another Stars alumnae, joins the Canada’s National Development Team roster after spending two seasons with Robert Morris University in the National Collegiate Athletic Association ranks in Moon, Pennsylvania.
    During the selection camp for Canada’s National Women’s Development Team, Shirley and Gebhard faced University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team alumnae Kaitlin Willoughby in exhibition games, as Willoughby was captaining a U Sports all-star squad.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to
    If you like what you see here, you might want to donate to the cause to keep independent media like this blog going. Should you choose to help out, feel free to click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner. Thank you for stopping in.