In the mid-1970s, a young LaSalle native named Mark Pare began officiating Junior and Minor hockey games in both LaSalle and Windsor. He would officiate his last game nearly 35 years later, on April 11, 2010. By then, the stage was a little bigger: the teams involved were a couple of clubs called the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks!
Pare’s stellar career as a linesman took him from local rinks to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), International Hockey League (IHL), and, eventually, the pinnacle of the sport: the National Hockey League (NHL). There, Pare worked 2,169 games, including 30 Stanley Cup Playoff games and 2 All-Star Games. Pare officiated during a stretch of unprecedented growth for the NHL and skated alongside the game’s greatest stars over that time, including Gretzky, Lemieux, Messier, Yzerman, Sakic, Roy, Crosby, and many of the league’s other greats. He earned the respect and admiration of his fellow NHL officials and the league’s players and coaches. After a very distinguished career indeed, Pare received the Ron Foxcroft Award from Sports Officials Canada for excellence in a professional sports environment in 2010.
Since his retirement from the NHL, Pare has been giving back to his sport by mentoring aspiring young officials in the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) and the United States Hockey League (USHL). Many of those Pare has worked with have moved on to professional leagues and may yet skate on the same NHL surfaces as he did. At home, Pare continues to work tirelessly for others in the Windsor and Essex County community. His caring and generosity have been evident throughout the years. From his 30-year golf tournament (the “Shooter Classic”) to his assistance for needy families in the community and his helping students cover college and university fees, Pare has continually been someone in our local community who understands what it means to “give back.”
Mark Pare has carried on the tradition of outstanding hockey officials born and raised in the Windsor and Essex County area, and he rightly takes his place in the Builder category of the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame.