In the last three stories I did in this series, I covered more of the league’s quieter stars in players like Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, and to an extent Leon Draisaitl. In today’s, however, I decided to take on a player that embraces the media and doesn’t mind being the center of attention a bit more often, in Mitch Marner.
Related: 7 Cool Things About Leon Draisaitl
Though the 24-year-old has been getting criticized more as of late due to some underwhelming playoff performances, there is no denying he is one of the NHL’s most talented players. On top of that, he also has a fun-loving personality which makes him an easy guy to route for. With that being said, here are 7 cool things about the Toronto Maple Leafs star winger.
Mom Missed His First NHL Goal
On Oct. 15, 2016, Marner’s parents were in attendance watching their son and his Maple Leafs teammates take on the Boston Bruins. During the first period of that game, Marner broke into the zone and fired a shot past Anton Khudobin for his NHL goal. Soon after, the camera panned to his parents in the crowd, only there was one problem. While his dad, Paul, was sitting there, his mom Bonnie was nowhere to be seen.
As it turns out, Bonnie had gone to the bathroom and missed the goal entirely. She told Sportsnet that she heard the entire arena celebrating, and was told shortly after that it was her son who had scored. Thankfully, she has gotten to witness plenty of goals from him since.
Hockey Crazed Parents
From a very young age, it was clear that Marner had both the talent and drive you need to try and become a professional hockey player. In fact, he has said that he was just four years old when he started to believe he had a chance to reaching the NHL. A big part of that reason may be due to how intense his parents, particularly Paul, treated their son’s hockey.
A video on Youtube featuring hockey parents, which includes Paul, has gotten plenty of attention in recent years. In the video, his dad is shown getting very worked up at Marner, who was just 11-years-old at the time. Many are divided on how they feel about the video, with some believing his dad instilled a great compete level in him, while others believe he was being far too hard on his child.
Grew Up a Leafs Fan
If you weren’t already aware, Marner has been a huge hockey fan for nearly his entire life. Growing up in Markham, which is a city located just 30 minutes from downtown Toronto, it was an easy choice for him to become a Leafs fan.
Back in 2016, a feature aired on how Marner had always hoped to play for his hometown team at some point in his career. One can only imagine what a thrill it must have been for him to be taken fourth overall by them back at the 2015 draft.
Memorial Cup Champion
After being drafted, the Maple Leafs chose to send Marner back to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in what would be his final season of junior hockey. He was incredible all season long, registering 39 goals and 116 points in 57 regular season games. He was able to improve on those totals even more in the playoffs, scoring 16 goals and 44 points in just 18 games.
His play helped lead the Knights to an OHL championship and sent them off to compete in the 2016 Memorial Cup. Playing on a dominating line with both Matthew Tkachuk and Christian Dvorak, Marner and the Knights went on to win the Memorial Cup. To no surprise, Marner was voted as the tournaments MVP after putting up 14 points in just four games.
Offered Scholarship From University of Michigan
Around the same time he was selected 19th overall by the Knights in the OHL draft, Marner received a scholarship offer from the University of Michigan. It was a tough decision for him to make at the time, UofM has produced some elite talent over the years, and boast several alumni players now in the NHL such as Kyle Connor, Zack Werenki, Max Pacioretty and many more.
Ultimately, Marner chose the OHL path, and it has clearly paid off for him. He ended up playing three seasons with the Knights, two of which he cracked the 100-point barrier in.
Co-Owner of Esports Company
Esports is something that, especially in recent years, has really started evolving. Professional gamers are now being paid, often times handsomely, and you’d struggle to find many kids who aren’t playing video games. Marner is admittedly a big fan of gaming, which is why during the summer of 2020 he joined the ownership group of an esports company called OverActive Media.
The ownership group of OverActive media includes more than 80 people, and despite Marner’s fame, he isn’t the most known person involved. Abel Tesfaye, known by his stage name The Weeknd, is also involved in the company.
Started a Business in High School
During his time playing junior hockey in London, putting up offence at a ridiculous pace wasn’t all Marner was doing. As it turns out, himself, Dvorak, and another teammate in Owen MacDonald created a business together called The MOD Feast.
Marner said that The MOD Feast served “bagels and stuff,” and had Pizza Day every Friday. The three often had regular customers and had their orders memorized off by heart. While he has since moved on to focus on his NHL career, perhaps his entrepreneurial side will come out once again once his career is all said and done.
Plenty More Stories to Come
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, Marner is more of an outgoing personality than some other superstar players in the NHL. Because of this, fans are able to get a bit more of a look into the type of person he is compared to some of the other elite talents in the league. As the years go on, we will likely learn even more about him, which could perhaps result in this article being updated years down the road.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.