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Backchecking: Taylor followed in famous grandfather's footsteps

Mark Taylor scored 42 goals and 110 points in 209 NHL games with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington. (THN Archives)

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Mark Taylor scored 42 goals and 110 points in 209 NHL games with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington. (THN Archives)

BY DANIEL HENDRIKSEN

His grandfather was the greatest hockey player in the world in the early 1900s. Now Mark Taylor is building upon his grandpa’s legacy in ways that aren’t just on the ice. Taylor is an integral part of minor hockey in British Columbia’s lower mainland and intends to continue his family’s legacy well into the future.

Taylor is a former NHLer, a hockey business owner, a brother, a father, and a son. He is an ambassador for hockey and helps the development of young hockey players in the greater-Vancouver area.

For the most part, Taylor was a regular Canadian kid. He grew up in Vancouver playing hockey amongst other sports and dreamed of one day playing in the NHL. The difference was his grandfather, Fred 'Cyclone' Taylor, is hockey legend. For Taylor and his brother, Rick, hockey was a major part of their childhood.

“With our grandfather being in the Hall of Fame, hockey was in our blood so we played it and loved it,” Taylor said.

Taylor was 20 years old when his famous grandfather passed away. He remembers his grandfather telling stories of his playing days around the dinner table.

“He wasn’t one to brag about his past,” Taylor reminisced, “but if you asked him questions he would get into some stories. But it’s always the way with kids, you didn’t fully appreciate what you had until it was gone and then now sitting back I wished I could have asked him a thousand more questions about his accomplishments.”

Mark’s father, Fred Jr., started Cyclone Taylor Sports in Vancouver in 1957. The store specializes in selling and repairing hockey equipment. A hard-nosed business man, Fred Jr. was straight forward and usually quite blunt. Mark said he was that way until he died in 2001.

“He was no nonsense; he wanted things done his way…which was the only way, and that’s just the way he was,” Mark admitted.

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Being surrounded by the game on a daily basis, it wasn’t long before Mark became conscious of the fact hockey may be something he could do for a living.

“I was about 13 or 14 years old and I started to realize I had a special talent, if I really worked at it,” said Taylor.

At 16, Mark left home to pursue his dream. After three years of junior, he enrolled at the University of North Dakota where along with a degree in business, he won a national championship; something he holds dear to his heart.

“I think whenever you win a championship as a team, it really bonds you as a group and I still have a good connection with a lot of the guys on that team, so that’s pretty special,” Taylor said.

After University, Taylor turned pro. Following two American League seasons, Mark realized his dream, breaking into the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1982. He played eight years before his career took him to Europe, where he played five more seasons before hanging up his skates and moving home to Vancouver.

Since returning home, Mark has helped expand Cyclone Taylor Sports, which now has four retail locations serving greater Vancouver. He currently lives in South Surrey, B.C., with his wife and two daughters.

Taylor continues to be very committed to growing and supporting hockey players in Vancouver through his business and on a personal level through coaching various age groups.

“I think at some point a person realizes it’s time to give back,” he said. “So I enjoy going out and coaching with the kids…that gives me a good feeling.”

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