Former Dundee Stars defenseman, Mark Thompson played for the Stars 16 years ago but his one season with the club has stuck with him forever and left him with many memories of his time in Scotland.

By Kris Smith

Mark moved his hockey career to Europe for the first time in 2003 when he joined the Stars and the then 24-year-old came to Dundee after spending the previous season in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) with Augusta Lynx.

Prior to that, he had also played in the Alberta junior leagues, the Western Hockey League and the International Hockey League but the highlight of his career was being picked in the 1997 National Hockey League Draft by Tampa Bay Lightning.

Firstly, Mark explained what he has been up to since leaving Dundee and he said: “The following year I moved back to Edmonton, Canada, which is where I first left to play hockey when I was 16.

“So, after eight years of being away from home it was nice to be back and spend quality, extended time with family and friends.

“As the years passed, I got married to my wife Jenny Souster and now we have two beautiful kids.

“Knox is six and Esme is four and I still play men’s league hockey a couple times a week with and against guys I played junior hockey with and former Dundee Star, Cory Morgan is one of them.”

Despite only being in Scotland for one year, Thompson made plenty of memories during his time here and that season has stuck with the Canadian.

Mark added: “I have some of the best memories of playing hockey from my year there, it was such an amazing experience.

“The fans, the group of guys we had in the room and the whole Stars organisation was just amazing.

“Playing in front of the fans whether at home or on the road was so much fun because of their chanting and just the pure joy you guys had for hockey was such a good experience, it made us excited to play every night no matter where we were.

“I explored all of Scotland that year with my roommate Jason Shmyr and fellow D-man Johan Engstrom.

“We would travel together on days off and just explore wherever Jason wanted to go, because Jay was the planner and me and Johan would just follow and take it all in.

“My wife’s dream right now is to go explore Scotland, so we will be back there soon and hopefully catch a Stars game.”

The St Alberta native also recalled his favourite moment in a Stars jersey and said: “We had a fun year that year with so many great memories.

“But the one that sticks out for me was the first time stepping on the home ice at the Dundee ice arena for the season opener, it was like nothing I had heard before, the fans were so loud and excited.

“I remember looking at Jason with a huge smile, knowing we picked the right team and city to play for.

“Also, anytime we beat Fife was always a great feeling!”

Mark then shared some of the reasons behind what brought him to Dundee.

“Well Jason and myself played and lived together the year before in Augusta of the ECHL”, he explained.

“So, when that season was over, we were both looking at going over to Europe the following year to play.

“We stayed in touch over the summer and compared contract offers that we had both received and it turned out we had both received offers from the Dundee Stars.

“After we had both spoken with Steve Ward and Roger Hunt over the phone, we decided to do it again and live and play together in Dundee.”

In what was one of the best days, if not the best day in his hockey career, Mark also talked about how it felt to go through the NHL Draft.

He said: “That is still one of my fondest memories that hockey has given me.

“At the time your young and don’t really grasp the significance of what is happening, I was more just in awe of everything about the draft weekend than the significance of what was happening.

“The interviews with the teams, meeting and seeing some of the all-time great players that had ever put on skates was overwhelming.

“I was very fortunate to have my whole family there, my parents Phil and Louise along with my two older brothers Jason and Chris.

“We just took it all in and enjoyed the moment, I remember it being a big moment for my parents, I never realised how big until I ended up having kids of my own.

“Now, I have realised you want to give your kids every opportunity you can to at least try and achieve their dream and to be able to share that moment with my parents is something I will never forget.

“One day I hope to share that moment with my kids, no matter what their dream is.”

Finally, Thompson sent a message back to all the fans in Dundee and he said: “I would just like to say thank you for providing such fond memories for myself, your guys hospitality and excitement is something I will never forget.

“I hope everyone is able to stay safe and healthy during these tough times and when this is all said and done, I will be planning a trip with my wife back to Scotland and Dundee.

“I would love to share a pint with all of you at Stars game one day.”

Here you can see a clip of Thompson in action for the Stars!

That concludes our series of ‘Look Back’ articles on the third Dundee Stars season but there is plenty more still to come, as next week we take you back to the 2004-2005 season.

If you want to be a part of the historic 20th Dundee Stars season then you can buy your season tickets by contacting [email protected]

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