Born: September 7, 1979
Paul Richard Mara was born September 7, 1979 in Ridgewood. Paul’s family moved to the Boston suburb of Belmont in the 1980s. Big, fast and coordinated, he excelled at several sports, but made his mark as a hockey player in the local youth leagues and later at Belmont Hill, a nearby private high school.
Paul played two seasons for the Belmont High, which had an excellent hockey program. It produced Mark and Scott Fusco, who each won a Hobey Baker Award in the 1980s, as well as future NHL players Christian Ruutu and Ian Moran. At 17, Paul and his parents decided that he too had a future in the pros, and he joined the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League.
A standout defenseman in junior hockey, he was a superb positional player with above-average offensive skills. Paul projected as a first-round pick in 1997, and he was taken #7 overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 1997, 1998 and 1999, he played for Team USA at the World Junior Championships.
Over the next few seasons Paul yo-yo’d between the minors and the NHL, with Tampa Bay and, after a 2001 trade, with the Phoenix Coyotes. Paul saw lots of playing time with Phoenix. He also represented the U.S. at the 2004 World Championships. His best NHL season was 2005–06, when he scored 15 goals and added 32 assists for 47 points.
In the years that followed, Paul played one year for his hometown Bruins, as well as the Rangers, Ducks and Canadiens. He spent the 2012–13 season in the minors before retiring in 2014.