In advance of the NHL All-Star Game this weekend, Front Row sat down with new ESPN hockey analyst Mark Messier, one of the most accomplished athletes in the history of the sport. A Hockey Hall of Famer and a six-time Stanley Cup champion, Messier talks about his book, No One Wins Alone (co-authored by Jimmy Roberts) and life at ESPN.
Catch the NHL All-Star Skills competition presented by DraftKings Friday, Feb. 4 on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. ET and the Honda NHL All-Star Game on ABC and ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET, Saturday. Visit ESPN Press Room for details.
What specifically made writing this book one of the hardest things you’ve done, as you’ve said on ESPN?
Reminiscing about old stories was fun but trying to remember everything in great detail took a lot of effort. I wanted to be as accurate and honest as possible while making sure the book had substance. It was terrifying because you want stories to resonate with people. When you add it all up – including the hundreds of hours sitting with Jimmy Roberts over a two-year period – it was extremely gratifying to share my story, and I couldn’t have picked a better partner.
People had been asking me for years to write a book, and after I met Jimmy and we became friends, I knew it was time. I wanted to write something about sports and its many redeeming qualities – leadership, inspiration, compassion, empathy and power of team — in No One Wins Alone.
What are some of your favorite This is SportsCenters?
The ones featuring [SportsCenter anchor and In The Crease host] Linda Cohn are funny.
You surprised Linda with a cameo appearance as ESPN celebrated her 5,000th SportsCenter [see video]. What’s it like working with her now?
Linda’s an icon in the industry. She brings so much hockey passion to her craft and she’s a professional in every way. After being a player and talking to her, it’s an honor working with her now after all these years.
What’s been the biggest surprise working at ESPN?
The extreme passion and love for the game of hockey from everyone at ESPN. Not just people on air…but those behind the camera — directors, producers, camera operators, executives…it’s incredible. Hockey’s always been such a big part of my life but it’s great to see it’s such a big part of so many at ESPN. I’m really enjoying my time here. It’s given me another way to express myself other than being a player and I hope I’m able to educate and entertain viewers through something that I love.
Editor’s Note: Watch Mark Messier win the Shooting Accuracy title in the 1996 NHL All-Star Game Skills competition in the video below.
Messier won six Stanley Cups, five with the Edmonton Oilers and the last with the New York Rangers.
©NHL – Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images