Aug. 31, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind. – Former University of Notre Dame hockey standout Mark Eaton, who helped the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins win the 2009 Stanley Cup, will return to campus this weekend to be honored at halftime of the Sept. 5 Notre Dame-Nevada football game.
Eaton played for the Irish as a freshman in 1997-98, accounted for 29 points that year (12 goals, 17 assists) – and was named the Central Collegiate Hockey Association rookie of the year in voting by league coaches. He also made the CCHA All-Rookie team and was a special mention pick on the all-CCHA squad.
The Philadelphia Flyers signed Eaton as an undrafted free agent on Aug. 4, 1998. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 2, 1999, against the Ottawa Senators, and scored his first NHL goal on April 8, 2000, when he scored the game-winner against Rob Tallas of the Boston Bruins. He played his first playoff game in the NHL for the Flyers on April 13, 2000, against the Buffalo Sabres.
Eaton was traded from the Flyers to the Nashville Predators on Sept. 29, 2000. While playing for the Predators in 2003-04, he set the franchise record for plus/minus at +16. The Pittsburgh Penguins signed Eaton on July 3, 2006, as a free agent. He saw limited time in his first two seasons, due to injuries, playing only 71 games in 2006-07 and 2007-08. He scored his first goal with the Penguins on Dec. 3, 2008.
A 6-2, 212-pound defenseman, he scored four goals in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs. He ranked third in scoring in the playoffs this year among Pittsburgh defensemen (4g, 3a) and his four goals tied for the team lead among Penguin defenders.
Eaton played for the United States at the 2001 World Championships and recorded one goal (the game-winner vs. Finland) and one assist in nine games. He also played for the United States at the 2002 World Championships in Sweden and registered three assists in a 5-2 win vs. Italy.
In 452 NHL games, Eaton has accounted for 20 goals and 42 assists.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pa., Eaton grew up in Wilmington, Del. (born May 6, 1977). He and his wife Dorrie and daughters Kylie and Adriana now live in Greenville, R.I.