The Messier Project, a public awareness and product development campaign designed by hockey icon Mark Messier and the head protection experts at Cascade Sports to address the issue of concussion in hockey, and the North American Hockey League (NAHL) have announced that The Messier Project has been named the Official Helmet Supplier of the NAHL.
As part of the new, three-year agreement, The Messier Project will outfit 22 NAHL teams - including the St. Louis Bandits, Texas Tornado, Chicago Hitmen, Alaska Avalanche, Motor City Metal Jackets, Alexandria Blizzard and Owatonna Express - in the revolutionary M11 helmet for the 2010-11 season and all 26 league teams for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.
Messier was in attendance at the NAHL Showcase Tournament on Wednesday, Sept. 15 to make the announcement and meet with fans and media.
“The support of the NAHL, one of the most respected hockey programs in the United States, means a lot to us here at The Messier Project,” said Messier, a six-time Stanley Cup champion. “We are proud to start this new relationship with the NAHL and wish the teams much success at the upcoming 2010 NAHL Showcase in Blaine.”
In celebration of The Messier Project’s new partnership with the NAHL, and in recognition of the young players who are leading the charge in an important effort to protect themselves and the great game of hockey, the inaugural Messier Project Leader of the Year Award will be presented to one NAHL player at the end of the 2010-11 season who exemplifies strong leadership both on and off the ice.
“A primary mission of The Messier Project is to engage the game’s greatest influencers to help change priorities within the sport and make head protection a top priority,” said Mary-Kay Messier, vice president of business development and the general manager of hockey for Cascade Sports. “To have the NAHL represent The Messier Project - and wear the M11 - will go a long way towards accomplishing our mission.”
The NAHL joins more than 250 associations and teams, including the Harvard Crimson, and NHL stars such as Brent Burns, Chris Phillips, Garnet Exelby and Stephane Veilleux, in choosing the M11 - the revolutionary hockey helmet featuring Cascade Sports’ Seven Technology - and encouraging better head protection across all levels of the sport.
“Our players’ safety has always been a top priority and our partnership with Cascade Sports and The Messier Project only re-enforces that commitment,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “Not only does Cascade deliver a top-of-the-line helmet with a visionary mission, it’s backed by an enthusiastic management team and support staff dedicated to the health and growth of hockey.”
During the 2009-10 NAHL season, both the Bandits and Tornado were outfitted in the M11 helmet; Mark Messier’s son, Lyon, played in the NAHL as a member of the Tornado from 2005-07 and played professionally in the ECHL during the 2009-10 season.
About The Messier Project...
In 2009, six-time Stanley Cup champion Mark Messier, a true guardian of the game of hockey and player advocate, joined forces with Cascade Sports, the leader in head protection, to create The Messier Project, a product development and public awareness campaign working to address the issue of concussion in hockey. The first product offering of The Messier Project, the revolutionary new M11 helmet, made its official debut with the start of the 2009-2010 NHL season and quickly ushered in a new era in head protection for the sport of hockey. As The Messier Project furthers its mission to protect players of all ages and skill levels, the M11 was released in a new small size in February 2010. For more information on The Messier Project and the M11 helmet, visit TheMessierProject.com.
About the NAHL...
Celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2010-11, the NAHL, the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior A league boasting 26 teams from across North America, prides itself on the social maturity and skill development of student-athletes ages 16-20 with aspirations of advancing to collegiate and/or professional hockey.