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Veteran Center Mark Freer Returns To Bears

July 25, 2002 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Hershey Bears News Release

HERSHEY – The HERSHEY Bears announced today that they have signed skilled center Mark Freer to a one-year American Hockey League contract. In keeping with company policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Freer began his professional career in 1988-89 as a member of the Bears, with whom he spent parts of four seasons. In his rookie season, Freer netted 30 goals and was tied for third place on the club with 79 points. No Bears’ rookie has eclipsed that 79-point total since Freer hit that mark (Craig Fisher also had 79 points as a rookie in 1990-91). In 248 HERSHEY games played, Freer amassed 89 goals and 140 assists for 229 points. He currently ranks tied for 37th place on the Bears’ All-Time Points List.

The Peterborough, Ontario native spent the 1992-93 season with the expansion Ottawa Senators and the 1993-94 campaign in the Calgary Flames’ organization before he joined the IHL’s Houston Aeros. Freer played with Houston through the 1999-2000 season and was a member of the Aeros’ 1998-99 Turner Cup Championship squad. Freer was named the playoff MVP that season after he accumulated a league-best 11 goals and 22 points in 19 games. He led Houston with 80 regular season points in 1994-95 and is still the Aeros’ All-Time Points Leader (342 points).

Prior to the 2000-2001 season, Freer returned to the Philadelphia organization, which had originally signed him as a free agent in 1986. He played the last two years with the Phantoms, missing just four games and racking up 123 points.

In all, the 34-year old Freer has skated in 1,074 professional games and has produced 819 pro points. He had added 66 career playoff points in 97 postseason games played.

“We are pleased to welcome Mark back to Hershey,” commented Bears’ President and General Manager Doug Yingst. “Like Steve Brule, Mark is not only offensively gifted but also durable. Since 1993, he’s played in at least 74 games every season. In addition, he will bring veteran leadership and championship experience to our team.”

Freer, who resides in Hershey year-round with his wife Anne and children Emerson and Caden, stated: “As a Hershey resident, I couldn’t be happier about signing with the Bears. This is a great situation for my family and me. I’m really looking forward to rejoining the Bears and playing in the new building. It’s going to be an exciting season.”

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