Wednesday, August 5, 2009

John Marks Brings Winning Combination To Gems

By Bruce Kettelle

John Marks knows ice hockey. Tuesday gave Dayton hockey fans a chance to know John Marks.

With about 800 games on his skates mostly with the Chicago Blackhawks he knows how to play the game. Since retiring as an NHL player he’s coached 1,800 games and he knows how to coach. He is bringing that winning combination to the ice in Trotwood’s Hara Arena as the coach of the new Dayton Gems IHL franchise.

Marks talked openly with reporters and about 70 fans during his introductory press conference at Hara. He shared his philosophy and some of his strategies to build a winning team.

“I always feel the team takes on the personality of the coach,” said the self-described bear. He insists each of his players show up ready to compete.

“You can’t play the game with eggs in your pants,” Marks responded to a fan about aggressive play on the ice. “To take the puck you have to get in there.”

He said fans like the emotional aspect of players dropping their gloves on the ice but not to the point of it becoming “You need intelligence to go about doing it.”

Marks admits he still has work ahead to fill the Gems player roster. “We have some good personnel defensively, the more you control the puck the more you will score.”

As an example he pointed to the teams first signee former Bomber Greg Labinski. “He is going to be one of the leaders in our hockey club.”

The Gems have already recruited former Dayton Bombers Labinski and Joe Van Culin. Asked if more Bomber signings are in the offing Marks said many of their players have already signed with other team but didn’t rule out adding more from the defunct roster. “We’ll never turn down a good hockey player.”

They will all get their chance soon at an upcoming tryout camp at Hara. And Marks said he is looking everywhere to find more up and coming talent.

After the press conference the smiling Marks was reminded again what it is like to be a player out on the ice. A fan came up with two Marks Blackhawk hockey trading cards and asked for a signature. The excited Gems season ticket holder exclaimed, “the only reason I bought a season ticket is because of you, I know you will build a competitive team.”

Marks promises it is going to be a really exciting show during the games and believes Hara is a marvelous place to play. “Lets get this arena roaring again.”

John Marks Career Highlights

Selected by Chicago Blackhawks round 1 #9 overall 1968 NHL Amateur Draft.

First college player ever picked in the first round.

Ten seasons playing experience with the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL (1972-1982)

675 career NHL games.

112 career NHL goals.

275 career NHL points.

Former holder of the fastest two goals at the start of the game by the same player record (:14, :33)

Selected to NHL all star team 1976 in Philadelphia.

Three career coaching championships, (Charlotte ECHL 1996, Greenville ECHL 2002, Fayetteville SPHL 2007)

Six years head coaching experience in IHL (Kalamazoo/Indianapolis)

16 out of 22 head coaching seasons with a +.500 record.

Born March 22, 1948 in Winnepeg, Manitoba.

Inducted in to the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Hall of Fame and the University of North Dakota Hockey Hall of Fame

Two time all-American at University of North Dakota (Junior and Senior year 1968-69, 1969-70)

Married with two children, Tricia, married lives in Charlotte, NC, son Logan, senior in high school Moorhead, MN.

see the current team roster here

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