Mark was identified by Hockey Canada’s national development program and participated in all three phases of their Program of Excellence. As a member of Team Ontario Under-17 team, they won gold at the 1999 Canada Winter Games. A year later, his National Men’s U18 Team won gold at the IIHF U18 World Championships. Thirdly, he played for two years on the National Men’s Junior Team, and took home the bronze medal at the 2001 IIHF U20 World Junior Championship in Moscow, Russia and the silver medal at the 2002 IIHF U20 World Junior Championship in Pardubice, Czech Republic.
At the age of 15, Mark was selected 4th overall in the 1998 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) draft by the St. Michael’s Majors. During his four years playing for the club, Mark was named 3x to the OHL First-Team All-Star Team and served as the team’s captain for two seasons. Mark excelled academically, completing high school a year early and was nominated by his peers for the St. Michael’s College School Athlete of the Year award.
Mark’s professional hockey career spanned 15 years in the top hockey leagues in the world. Mark was drafted 35th overall/2nd round in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and he played over 80 games with the both Anaheim and the Atlanta Thrashers (NHL). Mark spent five seasons in the American Hockey League (AHL) and at 20 years of age, served as the youngest team captain in AHL history. He played three seasons in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), on SKA St. Petersburg and Medvescak Zagreb, three seasons in the Swiss National League A (NLA), and two seasons in the Austrian Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (EBEL). Mark was also invited to play on the Canadian National Men’s Teams in 2004 and 2011 to play in the Spengler Cup, the world’s oldest club tournament held in Davos, Switzerland.
Throughout his career, Mark had the privilege of world-class instruction, training, and mentorship. In the developmental stages of his game, Mark’s most influential coaches were Dr. Yasha Smushkin, Dan Cameron, Dan Poliziani, and his father, Lou Popovic. In Junior, his game was fostered by Mark Napier and Dave Cameron (OHL) and Stan Butler (Team Canada). As a pro, he played for both Bob Hartley and Mike Babcock. Mark trained with strength and conditioning experts John Davies, Joe DeFranco, and Larry Justanis, and received mental skills coaching from Saul Miller and Paul Henry.
Mark is currently the Director of Personal Development and Leadership for the Humboldt Broncos.