Mark Bell (ice hockey) bigraphy, stories - Canadian ice hockey player

Mark Bell (ice hockey) : biography

August 5, 1980 -

Mark Bell (born August 5, 1980) is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward. He currently plays with the Iserlohn Roosters of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). Bell was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1st round (8th overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

Legal trouble

During the 2006 Labour Day weekend, in Milpitas, California, Bell's rented Toyota Camry was traveling an estimated 100 km per hour when it rear-ended a pickup truck at a stop sign driven by Jose Luis Villafana, the latter's vehicle being hit 15 metres up a steep hill and wrapped it around a telephone pole. The victim was uninsured and unlicensed and suffered multiple head, back and leg injuries in the crash. Bell was arrested shortly after walking away from the accident. He blew .201 in a breathalyzer test about a half-hour after the accident, and a blood test revealed a blood-alcohol level of 0.15, considerably higher than the legal limit of 0.08.

Bell was charged with hit and run and driving under the influence. Both are felony offences. His arraignment was set for January 3, 2007. Bell pleaded no contest to drunk driving causing injury and hit-and-run on August 14, 2007. Prior to sentencing, Bell had to pay restitution, including medical bills and the cost of the vehicle to Villafana, who has also filed a civil suit seeking "unlimited damages" which was later settled out of court. He was to serve six months in jail after completing the 2007–08 hockey season but later told to work in a California jail which he did from June 2, 2008 to August 15, 2008.

In addition to his conviction, Bell was placed in Stage 2 of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse Program and was suspended for 15 games without pay by the NHL on September 12, 2007. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman justified the suspension, saying "Playing in the National Hockey League is a privilege, and with that privilege comes a corresponding responsibility for exemplary conduct off the ice as well as on it". The NHLPA disagreed, saying "there is no legitimate purpose served by adding a substantial league disciplinary suspension to the severe sanctions that have already been imposed". Leafs manager John Ferguson, Jr., who drew criticism for the trade, had anticipated that Bell would face some sort of suspension, however based upon past precedent they did not expect it to be so lengthy. This had been suggested as a sign that the NHL was imposing stricter discipline for off-ice antics of players, after Michael Vick was expelled from the NFL as a result of his conviction for running a dog-fighting ring.

Bell has stated that as a result of the accident, realizing that his career was slipping away because of his irresponsibility, he has changed his lifestyle and has been sober since then, saying "Now, every day I wake up I realize I'm living a dream. It's taken a while for me to understand that. Now that I have, I'm going to grab it. My fun now is at the rink".

Playing career

Bell started playing hockey at four years old, and grew up admiring Wayne Gretzky and Doug Gilmour. He played four seasons in the minor Ontario Hockey League with the Ottawa 67's, and was part of the Memorial Cup championship in 1998–99.

Chicago Blackhawks

He was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft as the eighth overall pick, and scored his first goal against Patrick Roy. Bell's time with Chicago was moderately successful, forming a partnership with Tyler Arnason and Kyle Calder.

Bell was a bronze medalist with Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships in 2000.

San Jose Sharks

In the summer of 2006, he was traded to the San Jose Sharks in a three-way deal involving Chicago and the Ottawa Senators Bell signed a US$6.5 million contract July 2006, which paid US$2 million for the first two years of the contract and US$2.5 million for the final year. He was initially placed on a line with Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo, however Bell never lived up to expectations and could not duplicate the numbers that he put up in Chicago, and so was demoted to the fourth line, often being a healthy scratch.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine