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February 15, 2016

John Marks

John Marks was a wonderfully versatile player. He could play as reliable center and was more than a competent defenseman, but he was most comfortable on either of the wings.

"I prefer the winger, where you get a chance to do things with the puck," said Marks.

Marks played ten seasons in the NHL, all with the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1970s, totaling 275 points (112g, 163a) in 657 career games.

The Hawks had drafted Marks 9th overall in the 1968 NHL Amateur Draft. Marks was attending the University of North Dakota, playing defense as a two-time All-American for the Fighting Sioux. He had turned down a football scholarship at Simon Fraser University to pursue his hockey dream.

After two seasons in the minor leagues, Marks debuted with the Hawks in 1972. He played mostly defense in his first season before becoming more of a swing man and moving to multiple positions in the same season and sometimes even in the same game.

He actually first moved up to the left wing during the 1973 Stanley Cup final. He was tasked with trying to keep up with Yvan Cournoyer. Marks had great speed, too, but it was a pretty tall order. Montreal would end Chicago's dream of winning the Stanley Cup that season.

But Marks would become a regular forward who would drop back to the blue line when needed. On defense he was a depth defender who could reliably get the puck out of the zone. As a forward he was a dogged forecheck. Marks was also very durable player, at one point playing 509 consecutive games, though a broken would do him in late in his playing career

He later went on to step behind the bench as a coach. He started out back at the University of North Dakota in 1982, and led the school to a national championship by 1987. He went on to a lengthy career career in the minor leagues, winning three more league titles. He finished his coaching career in 2015 in the USHL junior league.


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