With just eight games between him and the 700 game plateau in the American Hockey League, OHL grad Mark Mancari has decided to leave North America for Germany. Mancari will play 2015-16 in Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey League (DEL) with Augsburger Panther. Mark will join fell OHL alumnus Arvids Rekis on the roster.
Mancari played four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2001-02 to 2004-05, all with the Ottawa 67’s. He was a second round pick by Ottawa at the 2001 OHL Priority Selection, 34th overall. In his final season, he led the 67’s in scoring for both the regular season and their long playoff run.
Over 64 regular season games in 2004-05, he scored 36 and assisted on 32 for 68 points. His goal total tied him for ninth in the OHL with Bryan Little of the Barrie Colts and Liam Reddox of the Peterborough Petes. In the playoffs, he scored 14 and totalled 24 points over 21 games as Ottawa reached the finals before falling to London. Mark led the league with those 14 goals.
The Buffalo Sabres took Mancari in the seventh round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, 207th overall. He has played pro since 2005-06 in the AHL and NHL. His National Hockey League experience consists of 42 regular season games between 2006-07 and 2011-12 with the Sabres and Vancouver Canucks. Mark appeared in just one Stanley Cup playoff game.
In the AHL, Mancari has scored 225 goals and assisted on 333 for 558 points over 692 regular season games and most years has led his team in scoring. Over 35 Calder Cup playoff games, Mark added 33 points.
In 2009-10, his 74 points in 74 games with the Portland Pirates tied him for eighth in the race for the John B. Sollenberger Trophy with Charles Linglet of the Springfield Falcons. The following year, he tied for fourth in the AHL with 32 goals and was named a First Team All-Star. In 2011-12 with the Chicago Wolves, Mancari tied for eighth in the league with 30 goals. The following year, it was his playmaking that put him in the top ten, tied for ninth with 39 assists as a member of the Rochester Americans.
This past season, 2014-15, Mark played in the AHL for the San Antonio Rampage. Over 74 games, he scored 13 and assisted on 33. Mancari is signed with Augsburger for just the 2015-16 DEL season.
As mentioned, Arvids Rekis is another Ontario Hockey League grad on the Panther roster. Rekis played four years in the OHL from 1996-97 to 1999-00 with the Erie Otters. 2014-15 was his first year back with Augsburg after four years with Dynamo Riga in the KHL. He played for Panther from 2003-04 to 2007-08.
Augsburger was a charter team when the DEL was formed for the 1994-95 season. As yet, the team has not won a championship but did reach the finals in 2009-10. In 2014-15, Panther did not qualify for the post season.
Home games are played at the classic Curt Frenzel Stadium in Augsburg, Germany, a 7,774 seat venue that opened in 1938. Augsburg is located in the south of Germany in Bavaria and has a population around 280,000.