It's a family affaire

TERRY JONES

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

The business of Mark Messier has long been a family thing.

"Mark had Gus Badali as his agent in the beginning, but after a few years (he) decided he didn't want a big agency," said Doug, the former Edmonton Flyers pro player.

"I was lucky Doug had hockey experience and was sharp enough and smart enough to do my contracts," said Mark.

"And my brother Paul and sister Mary-Kay came with me to New York to start Mark Messier International.

"My family has been my team my whole career. I'm blessed they all were very capable. And the trust was there.

"Mary-Kay now has so much experience, she's now probably overqualified to still be in the position she's been in with me. That's one of the reasons why being involved with Cold-fX is so fulfilling. Mary-Kay is now looking at an opportunity to head up Cold-fX for the whole U.S.A. It's a big opportunity for her."

For the company to come out of Edmonton makes it even better.

"Dr. Jackie Shan came from China on a scholarship to the U of Alberta," says Mary-Kay. "She wanted to revolutionize health care to prevent disease instead of treat it. When she developed Cold-fX she ran into tremendous opposition from the big pharmaceutical companies. So she forged on as a private company.

"Their numbers in Canada are astounding for the population. The product is used as she wanted - as a preventative treatment.

"She really connected with Mark. He represents all of that. What's the right thing to do for the good of the team. He said, 'This is something I can really believe in.' That connection was immediate. There was her story, too. She came from complete poverty. She arrived in Edmonton with no coat and people took her in and looked after her."

Messier said the product was such a perfect fit.

"I'd used it for 10 years. To find out the folks behind it came out of Edmonton ..."

To many people who never watched a hockey game, Messier is the guy in the Frito-Lay potato chip commercials.

"Chip?"

He has a new two-year deal with Frito-Lay that will involve a tie-in to his Edmonton banner-raising, which is sponsored in part by Cold-fX.

One of his other endorsement deals came as a result of XM satellite radio sponsoring his New York Rangers banner-raising.

"In a roundabout way, we got the endorsement because of my retirement," he said.

Then there's the hotel.

"It's 40 miles east of Nassau on an island four miles long and one mile wide. We first went there in 1995 to go fishing and made a stop there every year. The stops got longer and longer ... It's an old estate home on Harbour Island right on the beach. It has 11 rooms. It's not like we added a room or took away a room to make it exactly 11 rooms. It has 11 rooms."

The names of the rooms are bookended by Mark's kids, 19-year-old Lyon and toddlers Douglas and Jacqueline-Jean.

The Hilton Head Messier compound involves three houses and brother Paul's house across the road.

"We bought it the summer I was traded to the Rangers. Mom and dad and Jenny, my older sister, moved there that November. Then Mary-Kay and Aldo moved there.

"I liked the place for the off-season for the good weather, the golf, training and fishing," said Messier, who also owns something like a romantic version of a Swiss Family Robinson tree house on Daufauskie Island off Hilton Head - a place that is only accessible by boat.

Messier has five boats, from a 55-foot fishing Viking to a small shrimper. "Kinda one of every shape and size," he says.

Life is good being Mark Messier.


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