It’s a short list of players from New Hampshire who can claim a two-decade career playing professional hockey, and Mark Stuckey is at the top of that list.
The Concord native, who grew up on the campus of St. Paul’s School, where his father, Dan Stuckey ’09, was a teacher and hockey coach, went on to start at Hotchkiss School and then Princeton. At Princeton, he set a new freshman scoring record in 1971-72 and was presented with the team’s Hobey Baker Trophy for his contributions in play, sportsmanship and influence. He led the Tigers in goal scoring as a senior.
Stuckey attended the Eastern tryouts for the U.S. Olympic Team in the spring of 1975. The head coach was the late Bob Johnson and Stuckey was one of the last players cut.
From there, his career took him to Europe, where he signed his first professional contract for Renon of the Italian “A” League, playing from 1975-76 through 1979-80, twice leading the league in scoring. Another season, he played solely on defense and ended the season with the second-most goals in the league.
“That year,” he said, “I scored 50 goals playing defense the whole year, living out my Bobby Orr fantasies.”
In 1980-81 he crossed into Switzerland, playing for Dubendorf for three years in the Swiss “B” League, leading the league in goals the first year. He played the next two seasons in the Italian “A” League for Merano and the following as a player-coach for Renon, helping that team win the “B” championship and earn its spot back in the “A” League.
He’d play six more seasons in Italy, five with Hockey Club Fassa and his final one with Renon. Having received his Italian citizenship, he was chosen and played for the Italian National Team.
“You don’t play professionally for nearly 20 years overseas without being real good,” said Dana Barbin ’11, whose own career took him to Europe in the 1980s. “Anybody I ever ran into overseas, when Mark’s named was mentioned, they always commented what a great player he was.”
Undersized but speedy, Stuckey was a scorer wherever he played, at times finishing with more goals than former and future NHL players who were in his league, like Mark Pavelich, Jacques Lemaire and Jari Kurri.
“He was an outstanding skater-fast, strong with great stick skills and very determined,” said Barbin. “His slap shot was outstanding and was renowned for his sweep-check, something you no longer see in hockey.”
After a 10-year stint coaching professionally in Italy and Germany, Stuckey turned to another sport – golf, which he’s been teaching for 15 years.