Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to one of the greatest Canadian athletes of all time, Mark Messier, whose number 11 is being retired tonight by the Edmonton Oilers.
Hockey fans will remember his talent, especially his patented play of picking up the puck in the neutral zone and, at full speed and on his off wing and from an impossible angle, releasing that deadly snapshot past the goalie into the far side of the net.
An individual is not supposed to score goals like that, but Messier did, for an incredible total of 694 goals over 25 NHL seasons. He is second overall in regular season points, playoff points and number of games played in the NHL, a testament to his vast talent and incredible stamina.
He was talented and he was tough, but what defined him above all else was his will to win. He was and is a leader.
Tonight, the pride of St. Albert, Alberta returns home to Edmonton to receive the recognition and appreciation he so richly deserves. On behalf of all members of Parliament, I would like to congratulate Mark on all of his achievements and send best wishes to him and to his family on this special day.