Getting To Know: Mark Barberio

Mark Malinowski
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Status: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman.

Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 185 pounds

DOB: March 23, 1990  In: Montreal

First Hockey Memory: “Playing in the basement before I actually stepped on the ice. My dad (Gerry) gave me a stick and a ball in the basement. And there was a straight blade wooden stick. First I tried righty, tried a shot, didn’t like it. So he said try it the other way. So I put my right hand on top as a lefty. Right away I was like, this is much better. That was my first memory of hockey. My dad gave me a stick and a ball. Started shooting against a wall. Then I started skating at four. Picked up hockey at five on the ice. Just stuck with it ever since, fell in love with it.”

Hockey Inspiration(s): ”Growing up I was always a huge fan of the Canadiens. My dad was a huge Canadiens fan from when he was a kid. So, growing up I watched a lot of hockey with him. And I think that’s where I got the love for the game – watching hockey with my dad all the time. Seeing the passion he had for it. He never got a chance to play when he was younger. My parents wanted to give me every opportunity they could to play. They made a lot of sacrifices and a lot of work, as hockey parents it’s not easy. I’m glad they were able to watch my first NHL game.”

Last Book Read: ”Was Fire & Ice, Theoren Fleury.”

First Famous Hockey Player You Met Or Encountered: “I remember meeting Benoit Brunet. We were at a local rink his kids might have been on. And we were like, wow, Benoit Brunet. I was about eight or nine.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Winning the Calder Cup was one. And first NHL game. Getting the call and playing the first game in the NHL.”

Most Painful Moment: “Tough question. Trying to keep everything positive when there’s a bad moment. When the team doesn’t make the playoffs or gets knocked out of the playoffs. No matter what year it is, it’s always a painful moment. It means your time with your brothers is done.”

Most Memorable Goal: “So far I’d say making my first AHL goal. My first professional goal. Against Wilkes Barre/Scranton. Actually Radko Gudas scored his first goal in the same game. We both got our first goal in the same game.”

Funniest Players Encountered: “One of my roommates in Syracuse, Eric Nielsen.”

Closest Hockey Friend(s): “PC Labrie’s been my best bud in hockey. The last three years we went through a lot together. I’d say he’s up there, so is Radko. For three years I’ve lived with these guys. And I look at them more as family than as friends.”

Fiercest Competitors Encountered: “Dana Tyrell is one who has impressed me with his intensity and his relentlessness at all times.”

Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “I can’t think of anything too embarrassing. I guess, as a defenseman, if you get walked or just dangled or whatever, if a guy goes in and scores, that’s always an embarrassing moment no matter what.”

Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “There’s just nothing better. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Everything – the camaraderie, the friendships you make, the bonds. You’ll never meet greater people than in the hockey world. I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s been my passion since I was a little kid. Now I’m in the NHL.”

Favorite Uniforms: “Tampa’s uniform is really nice. I like the new logo.”

Strangest Game: “We were down 5-0 against Binghamton. We came back and won 6-5 in overtime.”

Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Soccer.”

Three Athletes You Like To Watch And Follow: “Lionel Messi. I love the way he plays the game. He doesn’t cheat the game, he plays honest. I love watching Sidney Crosby play. Same kind of thing. Honest player. Puts in a lot of work and obviously extremely talented, but he’s worked for that. And Georges St. Pierre is extremely impressive. The only time I’ll watch UFC is when GSP is fighting. Really respect the way he trains and prepares himself and how much respect he has for his opponents. Even though it’s a ruthless sport, he competes with respect.”

Current Car: “Jeep Grand Cherokee.”

Personality Qualities Most Admired: “Respect. Respect other people. Honesty. What you see is what you get.”

Mark Scoop Malinowski just published his third book about tennis great Roger Federer, titled “Facing Federer” which is available on Amazon.com.