New York, NY

Mark Messier announced he is leaving the New York Rangers to develop the Kingsbridge National Ice Center.

He denied his decision was due to being passed over for team's coaching job, which went to former Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.

"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," Messier said.

But team president and general manager Glen Sather believes the 52-year-old Messier's decision did have something to do with not getting the coaching job.

He said Messier's lack of NHL coaching experience factored in the decision to hire Vigneault.

"If you want coach in this league you need a little experience. I think Mark, if he decides to coach, will be great at it. He just needs to get a little time behind the bench," said Sather of Messier, who led the Rangers to a Stanley Cup championship in 1994, ending a 54-year drought.

Sather noted there was no friction between him and the iconic former captain who served as his special assistant .


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Mark Messier Denies Leaving Rangers for Not Getting Coaching Post