Mark Messier on his Super Bowl Ad, the NHL’s new stars and more

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With the Super Bowl just days away, many high-profile athletes and celebrities will be appearing in advertisements during the big game.

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One company that’s gone all-in when it comes to their advertisement this year is Lay’s. The potato chip company has reunited with NHL hockey legend Mark Messier to mount a reimagined version of its iconic “Betcha Can’t” commercial from the ’90s.

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The rebooted “Betcha Can’t Pick Just One” advert features a “Casting Call” in which Lay’s, in mockumentary style, will showcase just how impossible it is to just have one chip. The brand will also unveil its Sweet Chili Heat flavour, which will be back on store shelves after originally launching as a limited-edition flavour in 2021.

“The campaigns are awesome,” Messier, 63, says in a video call from New York City, where he works as a hockey analyst for ESPN. “When we got together to do the new campaign, it seemed to be a great fit, and I’m really looking forward to the final result.”

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One of the greatest players in the history of the game, Messier will be vying for eyeballs with his old teammate Wayne Gretzky, who stars in an ad of his own alongside NFL legend Tom Brady and actor Vince Vaughn.

But the 15-time NHL all-star and six-time Stanley Cup winner isn’t feeling a needling sense of competition when he thinks about how his Lay’s pitch will stack up against other star-studded ads.

“I think we’ve had a pretty good track record over the years of doing things that resonate with people. And I think this one is going to be a little bit of a different take,” the St. Albert, Alta., native says.

Ahead of the big-game commercial, Messier, who played for the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, spoke to Postmedia about the spot, who he’s rooting for between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, and shared some of the highlights from his 26-year career in the NHL.

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What did you think when they came back and asked you to do a reboot for this year’s Super Bowl?

You know, I had such an amazing experience and I think the most important thing for me working with Lay’s all these years starts with the people. The ads came across as authentic. I think that’s why they had so much stickiness … Along with that, getting on the platform this big is massive, and you certainly want to represent yourself well, and you certainly want to represent the product well … but I think it’s going to be really funny.

Lay's Messier ad
NHL star Mark Messier will appear in a new ad for Lay’s airing during Sunday’s Super Bowl. Photo by Supplied

Who do you got winning the Super Bowl?

It’s hard for me to bet against Patrick Mahomes at this point. Right now San Fran on paper, looks like they’re almost unbeatable, but I think (Mahomes’) experience means something, so I’m going to go with the experience in this one.

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Can Patrick Mahomes catch Tom Brady’s seven Super Bowl rings?

He’s at the peak of his career. But there are so many factors and variables that will be out of his control. Seven Super Bowls is an incredible feat. You have to stay healthy long enough to (win that many), to be dedicated, to have the discipline to stay at that top of your game later in your life. He’s got an opportunity, obviously, so never say never. But I think that would be a stretch.

What did you think about this past weekend’s All-Star Game in Toronto?

I thought it was awesome. Nobody put more pressure on themselves to win the skills than Connor McDavid. But Connor went out there and delivered and I said to someone else that maybe the most important skill that he demonstrated over the weekend was his leadership because of the character that he displayed to go out there and put an effort in for the fans and give the fans what they wanted to see. That was incredibly impressive.

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mcdavid
Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers competes in the NHL Obstacle Course event during the NHL all-star skills competition at Scotiabank Arena on Feb. 2, 2024. Photo by Claus Andersen /Getty Images

Who do you like to watch nowadays?

Well, there’s so many great young players. I mean name a team and they got a great young player. But I’ve been a huge Sidney Crosby fan because of the way he’s handled himself on and off the ice. His dedication and love of the game, wanting to be etched in stone with the best players ever … I mean it goes on and on and on of what he’s been able to do. There’s a lot of players that come into the game with a tremendous amount of skill but don’t quite match it up with a love of the game or the responsibility of being a role model. He’s done everything that you could ever ask for in an athlete representing a team and a country.

sid crosby
Team MacKinnon forward Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, moves the puck during the NHL all-star game against Team McDavid, in Toronto, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024. Photo by Frank Gunn /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Who do you got winning this year’s Stanley Cup?

Well, it’s hard to say that someone can beat Vegas at this point right now. I know they’re banged up and they’ve got a lot of regulars out, but I don’t see a team being able to match them with the depth that they have or their experience over a seven-game series. So this is all going to be predicated on them getting healthy … but they got all the experience in the world. They’ve got all the depth and they’ve proven that they can win. So until someone knocks them off, I’m gonna go with Vegas.

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Fans in Toronto and Edmonton aren’t gonna like hearing that.

There’s a number of teams that have a chance. I could say Toronto, I could say Edmonton. But if you match them up, it’s gonna be a tall task for them to beat a team like Vegas because of the depth of experience. So I’m not saying they don’t have a chance. I’m saying that in order to take down a team like Vegas with (the) depth that they have is going to take an incredible effort by any team, whether it’s Edmonton or Toronto.

Which Canadian team do you think will be the next to win the Stanley Cup?

I don’t necessarily look at it that way. Although I am a Canadian, I recognize myself as a Canadian and I’m cheering for the Canadian teams, you don’t win the Stanley Cup because it’s your time. You don’t win the Stanley Cup because you haven’t won in 50 years. You win the Stanley Cup by creating a game plan that’s executed flawlessly from both management and from a team. Following that blueprint, from management to coaching all the way down to the players is what wins you a Stanley Cup, not hope. Hope is not a strategy to win.

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What made guys like you and Wayne so great at the game of hockey?

I think at the first thing I would point to is the love of the game. I love playing hockey, so putting in the work to be the best I could didn’t seem like a chore. I never had a hard time working out in the summer and getting conditioned. I never had a hard time going to practice … that’s where it starts. Having a passion, obviously you need some God-given talent, but the most important thing is that you have to have a love of the game and you’re willing to put the work in that’s required to be the best.

Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier embrace after a goal against the Los Angeles Kings during Game 5 on April 14, 1987 of the division Semi-Finals. Photo by Edmonton Sun

What about a highlight for you, Mark? I mean, six Stanley Cups, two Hart Trophies. What are the moments that stand out to you the most from your career?

I can point to six years very clearly: ‘84, ’85, ’87, ’88, ’90 and ’94. Those are six significant times in my career that I’ll never forget. I’ll also never forget representing Canada for the first time in my career in 1984 at the Canada Cup and doing it four other times. I remember being 10 years old, watching the great ’72 series, that’s when I understood what Canadian pride really meant and the responsibility that came with putting that Canadian jersey on as a young Canadian hockey player … I’ll never forget playing with the greatest players in the world against the greatest players in the world. So, the Stanley Cups, playing in those World Cups and Canada Cups. And the one most important one, scoring my first NHL goal on my mom’s birthday, Oct. 13, 1979.

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Mark Messier
Edmonton Oilers’ captain Mark Messier holds up the Stanley Cup trophy after the Oilers beat the Boston Bruins in May 1990. Photo by Ryan Remiorz /CP Photo

I remember as a kid being upset when Gretzky got traded to the Los Angeles Kings. Do you ever wonder about that Oilers dynasty and maybe what could have happened if everybody had sort of stayed put?

I think if everybody stayed put, we definitely would have won more Stanley Cups. I don’t think that’s in question. Everybody left in the prime of their career, so it wasn’t like they left when they were on the downside. You know, Paul (Coffey) left early. Wayne (Gretzky) left early, and was still in the prime of his career. You know the list goes on … But I don’t really think about what-ifs. I’m just fortunate and grateful for the opportunity I had to play with Wayne and Paul and Glenn (Anderson) and Jari (Kurri) and Kevin Lowe and Grant Fuhr and all the great players that went through Edmonton.

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Oilers
Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri share a laugh during an Edmonton Oilers media availability with the members of the Stanley Cup winning 83-84 Oilers on Oct. 8, 2014. Photo by Ian Kucerak /Postmedia

What would young Mark have thought about the NHL career he ended up having?

I was one of those young Canadian kids playing street hockey watching Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights. I watched (Montreal Canadiens captain) Jean Béliveau carry the Cup around in the ’60s, I watched Bobby Orr come on to the scene. I watched Gordie Howe retire. I got to see Wayne and play with Wayne the greatest player that ever played the game. Would I have ever expected that when I was 17 years old, playing in the WHA and then getting drafted by the Oilers? I don’t think I could have seen thing unfolded for myself personally. I’ll be forever grateful for the players that I played with to make it all happen. I feel like, in some ways, I was blessed with something other than the talent to play and the drive to play. I was blessed with the timing of it all.

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