|Born||July 23, 1983 (1983-07-23) (age 29),
Stockport, England, U.K.
|6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
189 lb (86 kg; 13 st 7 lb)
|Ntl. team||Great Britain|
Mark Thomas (born July 23, 1983 in Stockport) is an English professional ice hockey player, currently playing for the Sheffield Steelers in the EIHL. Thomas began his professional career in 2002, playing for the Haringey Racers in the ENIL. Thomas took up ice hockey much later than most players but was able to thrive due to his natural talent and physical abilities. Thomas began playing ice hockey at Under-19 after watching his local team, the now-defunct Manchester Storm, then playing in the ISL.
Thomas would start with a strong showing in his first season, when he played in 22 games and totalled 63 penalty minutes as well as helping out the offense with 7 points. For the start of the 2003/04 season Thomas was a Telford Wildfoxes player, but played just once before being snapped up by then Manchester Phoenix head coach, Rick Brebant to play for the Phoenix in their debut season. The Phoenix had been established following the collapse of the Storm, the team that had inspired Thomas to start to play ice hockey in the first place.
Thomas was an important part of the Phoenix's first season and played in 52 EIHL regular season games and featured 6 times in the play-offs. The Phoenix organisation was suspended in 2004 due to off ice problems and so Thomas was forced into moving. In the summer of 2004 he chose to sign for the London Racers, where he stayed for a season and a half. It was financial problems that again forced Thomas to move, with the Racers franchise folding mid-way through the 2005/06 season.
This mid-season move brought Thomas to sign for the Sheffield Steelers, arch-rivals of the Phoenix whom Thomas had played for just two years earlier. Thomas established himself as a key part of the Steelers defence, and was a rare British star player surrounded by foreign imports. It is that consistency that has seen Thomas remain with the Steelers for two further seasons, and he continues to feature through the 2007/08 season, making 59 appearances so far.