When Mark Recchi thinks back to the early days growing up in Kamloops, his memories inevitably settle on playing hockey with his brothers Marty, Mike, and Matt. There was always hockey to be played: at the rinks, on nearby ponds when frozen over, and in the streets. Like so many young Canadians, every day the Recchi boys played for their imaginary Stanley Cup, their dream. A very fortunate few live that dream and Mark Recchi ended up one of them. Remarkably, over a 22-season NHL career he hoisted three Cups with three different teams, becoming known as one of hockey’s great offensive and defensive wingers, a durable athlete, and a true leader, in other words one of the most complete players to ever play the game.

Recchi began four seasons of junior in the Western Hockey League with the New Westminster Bruins before his hometown Kamloops Blazers traded for him in 1986. He “loved every minute” playing at home for the Blazers and in 1987-88 produced an impressive 61 goals, 93 assists, and 154 points in 62 games. Drafted 67th overall by Pittsburgh in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, Recchi helped the Penguins’ farm team, the Muskegon Lumberjacks, to the International Hockey League’s Turner Cup in 1988-89.

Playing alongside NHL legends Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey, and Jaromir Jagr, Recchi led the Penguins in scoring with 113 points en route to capturing his first Stanley Cup in 1990-91. Fifteen years went by before he won another Cup with Carolina in 2005-06, the second longest span between wins ever. When 43-year-old Recchi hoisted his third Cup at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena with the Boston Bruins in 2010-11, he became the third-oldest player to win the Stanley Cup and the oldest to score a Stanley Cup Final goal.

Overall, Recchi played 1652 regular season games (fourth most in NHL history) with seven different clubs scoring 577 goals and adding 956 assists for 1533 points, ranking him 12th all-time. He added 148 points in 189 playoff games. His career year came in 1992-93 with Philadelphia, scoring 53 goals, 70 assists and 123 points, still the Flyers’ single-season scoring record. He also played in seven NHL All-Star Games—in 1997 he was named MVP—and was selected to the NHL’s Second All-Star Team in 1992.

Internationally, Recchi helped Canada to gold medals at the 1988 world junior championships and the 1997 world ice hockey championships. He also represented Canada at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, the first time NHL players participated.

Recchi has worked with the Penguins since 2014 as a player development coach and had his name etched on the Stanley Cup a fourth time in 2015-16. Currently he serves as a co-owner of the Kamloops Blazers and the street outside the Sandman Centre is appropriately named ‘Mark Recchi Way’ in his honour.

Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.