Messier Jr. taking it in stride

DEREK VAN DIEST

, Last Updated: 8:03 PM ET

Lyon Messier was by his father's side when the famous No. 11 was lifted to the rafters at Rexall Place.

Now the six-foot-one, 190-pound defenceman wants to play in the same rink his dad Mark won five Stanley Cup in as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

Messier, 20, is one of the numerous hopefuls vying for a spot on the Edmonton Oil Kings roster. Yesterday he practiced at Servus Credit Union Place in St. Albert in preparation for tomorrow's start of training camp in Sherwood Park.

"It's a great experience for me to be in the same situation that he was in," Messier said. "I thrilled to be here to get an opportunity to play where my dad played. I'm hoping to be able to help the team out and it's going to be a fun year if I make it."

Last season, Messier played with the Texas Tornado of the North American Hockey League.

"It was a great experience for me there, I had a great coach that helped me out," Messier said. "He helped me improve my level of play and helped me take the next step."

Born in Virginia, Messier moved to the Detroit area to play his minor hockey. He was selected in the OHL midget draft by the Sarnia Sting but ended up playing Junior B hockey before moving to the Dallas area.

Growing up in the shadow of his famous father has never been easy for Messier. But he's taking it all in stride and is used to the comparisons.

"He did what he did and I have to do what I have to do to make it," Messier said. "I think I'm ready for it. I've grown up with it, so I'm ready to give it a shot."

As an overage player, Messier has his work cut out to make the Oil Kings roster.

The Oil Kings are allowed to dress five 20-year-olds in their expansion season - two more than the rest of the teams in the league. The Oil Kings are expected to have seven 20-year-olds in camp.

"It's going to be a good experience and I'm just going to try and do my best," Messier said.

"I'm going to be a little nervous, but if you don't have butterflies you're not human."


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