Mark Messier’s next international assignment will come behind the Canadian bench.
The Moose will serve as head coach at both the upcoming Deutschland Cup and Spengler Cup, a source said Monday. The official announcement was expected to be made Tuesday.
Messier was Canada’s general manager at the IIHF World Hockey Championship in May—a tough assignment in an Olympic year. He put together a young team that struggled to a seventh-place finish, the country’s worst since it was eighth in 1992.
The 49-year-old was bitterly disappointed after Canada was eliminated in the quarter-finals by a powerhouse Russian team, and earned a vote of confidence from Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson following the event.
“I thought he put everything into this,” Nicholson said in May. “I’m sure he’ll be the first to say that he learned a lot. I was really happy with how engaged he was and I felt disappointment for him—I know how emotional he was when we lost.
“That’s why you like having Mark Messier.”
His next jobs with the national team will be his first significant opportunities as a coach.
The Deutschland Cup team will be comprised of German-based Canadian pros and played next month in Munich. The Spengler Cup is held in late December in Davos, Switzerland, and typically features a Canadian team made up of players from around Europe, along with a few others on loan from the American Hockey League.
Canada last won the Spengler Cup in 2007. With Craig MacTavish coaching a year ago, the team failed to reach the final after going 2-2 during the round robin.
Messier is the NHL’s second-leading scorer all-time with 1,887 points, and retired from playing in 2004. He is currently working as a special assistant to New York Rangers president Glen Sather.