Mark Messier has left the Rangers’ organization.

The team issued a statement this afternoon that Messier, one of two candidates interviewed in person for the coaching job that went to Alain Vigneault, has decided to resign his position as special assistant to GM Glen Sather in order to develop the Kingsbridge National Ice Center in the Bronx, which is being developed at the Kingsbridge Armory.

Messier, in a statement, insisted his career move was not related to Sather choosing Vigneault over him to replace John Tortorella.

“I would like to thank the New York Rangers and particularly Glen Sather for giving me the opportunity over the last four years to work with the Rangers,” Messier said. “I am resigning my position with the Team to pursue an opportunity to expand the game of hockey in the New York area by developing the Kingsbridge National Ice Center. Although some will perceive this as a reaction to the coaching decision, nothing could be further from the truth. I completely respect the decision that was made and for all the reasons it was made. I harbor no hard feelings toward Glen or the Rangers. This is a personal choice I am making to create a program in the New York area that will give our children more choices and opportunities in the future. I wish the Rangers nothing but the best in the future.“