This is the fourth installment in a series of local celebrity success stories about people who were either raised in Severna Park or Arnold, or people who moved to the area and continued to achieve lofty goals. Previous stories featured “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak, Under Armour’s Jamie Bragg and CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil.
The life of a professional hockey player can be unforgiving at times. Just ask Mark Tinordi, who broke his femur and his talus and had nerve damage to his left leg. Mark’s son, Jarred Tinordi, considers himself luckier, having only suffered a torn ligament in his thumb, an orbital fracture and surgery on his wrist.
But both of the scrappy players, who have roots in Severna Park, are proud of their work on the ice.
Mark played in 663 games during a 12-year career in the National Hockey League. His skills were honed in Red Deer, a city in Alberta, Canada, that had a population of roughly 30,000 people during Mark’s adolescence in the 1970s.
“Either you were a farmer or you worked in the oil business, but hockey ran that town at the time,” Mark said. “In my neighborhood, we had a big grassy area and my brother, he’s a fireman and he would make ice in the middle, and we played hockey 24/7. You’d get up on a Saturday and you’d play until dark. The winters were seven or eight months there, so we played hockey for eight months.”
Mark was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Rangers prior to the 1987-1988 season, and after being traded to the Minnesota North Stars in October 1988, he cemented his place in the National Hockey League. A 6-foot-4-inch defenseman, Mark was known as a punishing hitter. His tenacious style helped the North Stars to a Stanley Cup finals appearance in 1991. Mark was named team captain in 1991-1992, and he enjoyed his best offensive season in 1992-1993, notching 15 goals and 27 assists. The team was later relocated to Dallas, where Mark played for one season before being traded to the Washington Capitals. He made one more Stanley Cup finals appearance, this time with the Washington Capitals in 1998.
Injuries forced Mark to retire in 1999. “For a guy that went through four years of draft eligibility and never getting drafted and then playing as long as I did, that’s probably the thing I’m most happy with,” he said.
One of Mark’s sons, Jarred Tinordi, had a different experience, getting drafted in the first round of the 2010 NHL draft by the Montreal Canadiens.
Before that, Jarred was shuffling to tournaments as a youth hockey player from Severna Park, which he called “a great area and place to grow up in.” After two years at Severna Park High School, he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to play for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.
That opportunity prepared him for professional hockey. Having bounced between the major leagues and minors, Jarred is now signed to a two-way contract with the Nashville Predators. While he just enjoyed a fine season with the Predators’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, his goal is to make the NHL squad. Much of his training this offseason has focused on his footwork.
“I always try to put a lot of emphasis on my footwork,” he said. “As I taller guy, I never want to lose a step out there.”
Twenty years removed from the league, Mark still enjoys watching hockey but his mood differs whether he’s watching the Capitals or watching Jarred.
“If you’re a forward, sometimes nobody notices your mistakes,” Mark said, “but as a defenseman, everybody notices your mistakes, so it’s a little nerve-wracking.”
Another nerve-wracking experience for Mark came in 2012, when he made the unexpected transition to restaurant and bar owner. He entered the industry to help a friend, he said, but after the friend left, Mark decided to stay onboard and try to change people’s perception of the place, which has become Severna Park Taphouse.
“There’s been a lot of hiccups,” Mark said. “When it was Rods and Rides, it wasn’t doing very good, and when we took over, we changed it from that scene to a craft beer scene and made it for a Severna Park crowd to come in. Before that, it wasn’t really a Severna Park bar. It was here, but it was a little on the rough side and then we made the switch and it’s been good since.”
Severna Park Taphouse has enjoyed success with its craft beer selection and scheduled charity events in support of Polar Bear Plunge, Burgers & Bands for Suicide Prevention, and Fight NET Cancer With Katherine, which will be held August 24 from 11:00am to 8:00pm.
Patrons also enjoyed the private party in July 2018 when the Stanley Cup was paraded around Severna Park Taphouse in celebration of the Washington Capitals’ championship victory.
Injuries aside, Mark and Jarred Tinordi feel fortunate for their hockey success. Jarred said aspiring athletes can anticipate similar success if they put forth the effort.
“I was never forced into hockey. I was never pressured into it,” Jarred said. “If that’s the sport you want to play, things usually work out for you if you apply yourself and work hard.”