Atlanta Thrashers right winger Marian Hossa was born in Stara Lubovna, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia) on January 12, 1979. The 12th overall selection in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Hossa scored 15 goals in his rookie season and recorded a +/- rating of +18, along with being runner-up for the Calder Trophy. 2002-2003 saw Marian emerge as one of the league's most effective goal scorers after recording 47 in regular season play, breaking the previous franchise record held by Alexei Yashin.
The older brother of the Montreal Canadiens' Marcel Hossa, he managed to partially blind defenceman Bryan Berard with a high stick. As Hossa ripped a shot in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, he accidentally clipped the visorless Berard in the eye on the follow-through. Berard, a who had actually been a Senators first-round draft pick, suffered a cut cornea, detached retina and a fracture of his orbital bone. Berard was able to return to the NHL following the injury, although there was significant permanent damage to the eye.
Hossa can not only blind players with his stick, but also with his speed. One of the fastest skaters on a speedy Senators team, he mainly owes his high goal production to his incredible ability to create room for himself in the opposing team's zone. A two-time Eastern conference All-Star, Marian Hossa is a real steal, costing the Sens only $2,050,000 US in 2002-2003.
Referred to by scouts as a pure goal-scorer, Hossa first came to their attention when he played for Dukla Trencin as a teenager. At 17 years of age, Hossa scored 42 goals in 53 games for his Slovakian junior league team. Drafted by the Senators the following year, Hossa spent the 1997-8 season playing with the WHL's Portland Winter Hawks, scoring 45 goals in 53 games. At 24 years of age, Hossa boasts a great work ethic, as evidenced by his improved physical play. As with many European players, Marian has sometimes been needled for a perceived lack of physical aggressiveness. Hossa has silenced his critics by consistently returning from the offseason even bigger, stronger, and more focused. Additionally, his youth makes Hossa an even greater asset for the Stanley cup-contending Senators. Typically, NHL stars reach their prime at around 27 or 28 years of age, indicating that the 24 year old Marian should be powering the Sens' lightning offense for a long time to come.
Hossa was traded to Atlanta from the Ottawa Senators along with defenceman Greg de Vries in exchange for center Dany Heatley prior to the 2005-06 NHL season.