"Gettin' my six. Still waiting on your eight from Phoenix, hey?"

An arbitrator has ruled that the Vancouver Canucks owe Mark Messier six million dollars, because apparently they drew up a very complex contract when he signed with them in 1997.

When reading the original reporting from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun, the first thing that jumped out to me was what Mark Messier was earning – his deal was for five years at six million per. Doesn’t that seem like an awful lot for 15 years ago? I suppose there wasn’t a salary cap then, but still, I don’t remember dollars like that being thrown around.

The Canucks bought Messier out after three seasons, as they had written in a provision that said they could do so for a flat two million dollars. Messier then went back to the Rangers where he finished his career.

So, that’s all fine and dandy – he got paid for those three seasons, got bought out, what’s the problem?

Apparently Mark Messier thought his celebrity was going to pack the building, so there was a clause that said the Canucks owed more money to the Moose if the value of the franchise increased over his tenure there (don’t most franchises do that over time?).

Well, apparently it did. Because of a change in ownership around that time, that extra money he was owed somehow got lost in the shuffle. But, when you’re owed six million dollars (well, Messier didn’t know exactly what he was owed – the arbitrator determined that), and you haven’t been drawing an NHL paycheck for awhile, you probably don’t forget too easily.

Knowing a six million dollar cheque is on its way would probably change your mood for the day, wouldn’t it? I just can’t fathom numbers like that.

Comments (10)

  1. Happy you got your money Mark.

    Now will you please, please have nothing to do with this franchise till the end of days.

  2. Is there a breakdown of how the 6 million figure was arrived at? Is it a calculation of how much they should have paid him at the time + compound interest for the years of nonpayment?

  3. Does this count against Vancouvers cap?


  4. Great. The most damaging free agent signing in NHL history (taking Messier away from his reunion with Gretzky in the most important market in sports after just one season – one where they made the conference final together, mind you) at least cost Vancouver a bit more than it originally did.

    Still doesn’t make up for what that signing cost the league overall, but, hey, to do that we’d have to implode the Canucks.

  5. The current ownership gets hosed by this ruling! They had nothing to do with that stupid contract the Canucks gave Messier! I never liked Messier as a person and like him even less now!

    • A contract is a contract and should be honored by both sides. When buying a business you take over all liabilities as well as all the assets.

      C.I.P. — Pre-Fiat Chrysler vehicles’ warranties are still honoured by Fiat-owned Chrysler.

  6. Well, that’s another six million reasons for this Canucks fan to hate Mark Messier.

  7. It was a bad contract. But it does not mitigate how loathed Messier is in BC.

    His tenure is still perhaps the worst era in Canucks history… and the Canucks were a really poor team for at least 30 out of their 40 odd years in the league!

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