Skip to main content

Mark Heaslip

Mark Heaslip had an infectiously positive and happy attitude that was always appreciated by his coaches and teammates.

How positive? He was once called up from the minor leagues to play a game for the New York Rangers. By all reports he played very well in that game, which is made even more amazing given that his home back in Duluth, Minnesota had burned down the night before.

That was just one of the many ups and downs in the life of Mark Heaslip. He was a popular yet fringe NHL player for 117 games, 69 of which came with Los Angeles during the 1978-79 season. A year later he was out of hockey for good.

Heaslip always beat the odds. He made his high school team as a walk on. He went on to play at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (studying political science) without a scholarship. He was never drafted by a NHL team, yet he still made it to the big leagues in his seven year professional career.

"I knew my role. I knew I was not a superstar.  I knew I had to do certain things well if I wanted to play. I knew if I did not do these things consistently that there would not be a place for me on the team," he said.

"I was a hard working player. I think it kind of amazes me how far I got just on my hard work."

Heaslip's hardest work was off the ice. He got into a lot of odd jobs and a lot of trouble. By that time he was really struggling with alcoholism and cocaine addiction, but he managed to get himself clean and healthy by 1984.

He began working for a local television station while designing and selling his own clothing.  But, with the help of former Rangers teammate Phil Esposito, he found his real calling in helping others who faced chemical dependency issues like himself. He frequently spoke at events about his experiences while also working at the treatment center that help him clean up.

"Sobriety is the number on priority in my life. If I stay sober, there isn't a whole that I can't do," he said.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I would love to hear more as I myself am a retired professional minor league player and I'm struggling with mental health issues and depression

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M