13 April 2010

Remember When: Mark Popovic

Photo by Ross Dettman/Chicago Wolves

It is no secret that the Chicago Wolves are committed to winning. However, some don’t realize how dedicated the organization is to developing their players. Former defenseman, Mark Popovic, couldn’t tell you what his hockey career would have looked like if he hadn’t played for the Wolves.


“For me, the Wolves were a stepping-stone to make the National Hockey League. I went to Chicago after my fourth year of being a professional and I was really underachieving,” he recalled. “John Anderson and everyone else in the organization pushed me to be a better athlete and really helped me develop as a player. The Wolves, for me, were really pivotal in my career and I don’t know if I would have made the NHL without them.”

Popovic made the most of his three seasons with the Wolves, racking up 78 points in 138 contests. He also made quite a few friendships along the way.

“I keep in touch with Jason Krog and Darren Haydar,” he said. “I got married this summer and they came out there. I just spoke with coach John Anderson last week. When you are in a winning atmosphere and positive place, you tend to develop great friendships with those you play with. I think that I made more friends in those few years there than I did anywhere else.”

When Popovic thinks back to the challenges he faced he can’t help but laugh. His biggest challenge came when it was time to move on from the Wolves.

“The organization was such a good place to play and at the same time they have high expectations. Once you were there, you didn’t want to play anywhere else.”

Everyone there is just like a big family, and it was just a blast. The coaches, the owners, they really care. The things I remember the most were the golf outings, the Get Fed events. I tell you one thing, my wife (girlfriend at the time) loved going to the games because she was treated so well. It’s funny, not only do the players want to go back, but the wives and girlfriends do too.”