No Lyon for Kings

JASON HILLS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

Lyon Messier won't have an opportunity to play in the same building his legendary father once did.

The Edmonton Oil Kings traded the 20-year-old defenceman to the Kelowna Rockets last night for future considerations.

Messier said he is disappointed about the move.

He was really looking forward to being able to play in the same city and play in front of the same fans his father did for 12 seasons.

"Right now it's pretty tough to swallow, but Kelowna has shown their interest in me and I am going to go there and give it my all," said Messier outside the Oil Kings dressing room last night.

"When I talked to my father he just told me to hang in there and to make the most of my new opportunity.

"It's definitely tough. Knowing what he was able to do over the years in this building and when I look up in the rafters and see his number there made me really want to play here.

"I was disappointed, but it's part of hockey and you have to grind it out and dust yourself off and go to a new team and new attitude and try your hardest.

"I think I proved myself that I can play here but they have some older guys, here with a few more years experience and I think that played a big part in it."

Vying for one of five spots for 20-year-olds and battling it out with three overage defenceman with prior Western Hockey League experience had the Burke, Virginia, native on the outside looking in.

"We think Lyon can play in this league," said Oil Kings GM Bob Green, during the second intermission of the Oil Kings' 5-2 loss to the Red Deer Rebels in Leduc.

"It was just a situation where we were happy with our other three 20-year-old defenceman and they all have experience in this league and with us being a first year team, that experience is valuable."

Messier came to the Oil Kings camp from the North American Hockey League's Texas Tornados.

Green said he showed well during his few weeks here in training camp, but in Kelowna he'll be given a bigger opportunity to show what he can do at the WHL level.

The Oil Kings are allowed five 20-year-olds in their expansion season, two more than any other WHL team. With Michael Hengen, Bretton Stamler and Matt Swaby having a combined 11 years of WHL experience Messier felt he was in tough to make it.

"Their defence is going to be the strong point of their team and they will have a lot of experience back there," said Messier.

Messier will be given an opportunity to be a leader on the Rockets blueline. The Rockets will boast a pretty young defence to start the 2007/2008 season.

"He's a great kid and this was a really tough move to make, but I think it will benefit Lyon in terms of improving as a hockey player and I think he'll make the most of it," said Green.

Green isn't sure what the 'future considerations' may be coming the Oil Kings' way, but he does believe it will be in the form of a bantam draft pick.

Messier won't be able to play at Rexall Place this season - the Kelowna Rockets don't make an appearance in Edmonton until the 2008/2009 season.

The Oil Kings do, however, make one trip to Kelowna, on Feb.16.


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