|Born:||Mar 6, 1987||Draft:||2005 Canucks, 205th Overall|
|Known For:||CHL Memorial Cup Champion (2007)||Shoots:||Left|
|National Team:||Slovakia||Current Status:||Retired|
Mario Bliznak (born March 6, 1987) is a former Slovakian ice hockey player, having played his final year in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks during the 2010-2011 season. Drafted 205th overall by the Canucks in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Bliznak joined the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League (WHL) for three seasons, earning him the necessary exposure in North America. He improved his two-way play and offensive numbers in each year, winning a Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Memorial Cup in 2007 while representing Slovakia at the World Junior Championship U20 tournament.
Making his professional debut, Bliznak recorded seven goals and 16 points in 64 games with the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League (AHL). He was glued to the hip of captain Mike Keane, and the team reached the AHL Calder Cup Final before eventually losing to the Hershey Bears in six games. In the following two seasons, Bliznak earned a few call-ups to the Canucks roster, but appeared in just six games during that span. He registered his first and only NHL goal during the 2010-11 season, and consistently helped the Moose reach the AHL Playoffs in each of the three seasons he played for the team.
Bliznak became an unrestricted free agent in the off-season and chose to return to Europe, signing with HC Sparta Praha of the Czechia league. After one year, he made his debut in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), playing two seasons with HC Slovan Bratislava while representing Slovakia internationally. Bliznak’s final four seasons were split between the Czech Republic and Slovakia up until his retirement at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season.
Mario Bliznak Statistics
- WHL Champion (2006)
- CHL Memorial Cup Champion (2007)
- World Championship Silver Medal (2012)
- Czech Extraliga Bronze Medal (2016)
- Czech Extraliga Silver Medal (2017)