First team for former Peterborough Petes defender Mark Bar

As the ponds froze, the Bar clan could see their boys playing shimmy on Toronto’s frozen surfaces late into the night. There was a future Pete among the boys who would play his entire 156-game career in the Ontario Hockey League, all with the browns and whites and his name was Mark.

Mark Bar is the youngest of seven boys and he currently works as a firefighter in Richmond Hill where, as he puts it, he’s just “one of the guys”.

Bar, while proud and grateful to be a Petes alumnus, didn’t know where he would land until the 1985 OHL priority selection. As he recalls, Peterborough did not reach out to speak to him.

He ended up being an effective late-round pick in a legendary class with Jody Hull (first-round, 14th overall), Luke Richardson (second-round, 29th overall), and Mike Dagenais (third-round, 44th overall). Heralded Petes coach Dick Todd loved the toughness Bar had to stabilize the blue line. Bar played in 56 games in his rookie season and posted a career-high 26 points.

“When I think about it, it’s the guys. The good times on the bus, in the dressing room. They were great staff…and it was a good community to play hockey in,” Bar said.

A few more seasons paved the way for Bar’s development as a type of team. Opposing teams got confused every time they threw the puck into Bar’s side.

“I think I was a pretty decent passer (so) just moving the puck. Getting that first puck out on our side was probably my best attribute,” the former defenseman suggested.

Bar has dedicated his life to saving the lives of others as a firefighter. It’s a position he’s held since leaving the Petes in 1988.

He enjoys the camaraderie and reliance on teamwork that is necessary for success in the fire service.

“You never know what you’re going to get day to day, hour to hour. It’s always a team environment, which I like,” Bar explained. “You work with four (or) five people on my truck at, if you go to a big stage, there might be 20 to 25 people on the scene… You might be sitting around the kitchen table a minute and then you I’m in the truck trying to help people in need and that’s what it’s all about.

When the Toronto native joined the fire department at age 21, he was the new kid on the block again.

“I didn’t know much about it. I was pretty green,” admits Bar. “When you are recruited, all the crew members who are above you help you, advise you and point out things to you.”

“It’s (always) like that now. I’m on 33 and we just had someone in our truck a month ago and you’re just trying to pass on your knowledge to them. They will do the same as they age.

Bar shared a story about being recognized 10 years into his career with the fire department. Two young firefighters who had family in the Peterborough area approached the older Pete shortly after being recruited.

“They asked their family members and they remembered. I think maybe the only group of grandparents were season ticket holders, so they knew who I was,” Bar said.

The former Lift Lock boy had two successful careers. One as Pete and one as a firefighter. If you ask Bar about his role, he’ll say, “Just part of the crew. As a senior, I guess I mentor the youngsters.

University of Minnesota graduate student Michael Mazzuca is an Archives and Alumni Relations Intern at Peterborough Petes.