Joel Martin Heading to NHL Camp with Islanders
ODESSA, TX - When Jackalopes goaltender Joel Martin got on his flight Sunday morning in Dallas and headed for LaGuardia airport in New York, the plan was for him and four of his Odessa teammates to jump into a couple of vans and head to Connecticut for the start of American Hockey League training camp with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
But things can change in a hurry, and for Martin they certainly did.
Jackalopes General Manager Joe Clark received a phone call from New York Islanders Assistant General Manager Kerry Gwider on Sunday morning about the same time Martin, his teammates, and head coach Paul Gillis were boarding their plane for New York. The Sound Tigers are the top affiliate club for the National Hockey League's Islanders.
Gwider asked Clark if they could have a goaltender sent to Long Island, and Clark made sure the message was delivered.
So when Martin got off his plane at LaGuardia Airport, both he and Gillis received the same text message from Clark - the Islanders had sent a limo for Martin. Instead of heading to Bridgeport, he would be going to Long Island for NHL training camp with the Islanders.
"It's a great opportunity for Joel," said Clark. "It's up to the Islanders as to how long he'll stay there, and most likely it'll be short-term. But I wish I could have been there when he got that text. That's what minor league sports are all about -- getting a call like that."
Martin, who was the Central Hockey League's Most Outstanding Goaltender last season, was on his honeymoon in Mexico in late August when he got the word that he'd be attending Bridgeport's training camp.
"What a great story," said Jackalopes co-owner Rick Gasser. "He went from not going to anyone's training camp, to going to an NHL training camp. Everyone here is genuinely happy for Marty. He deserves an experience like this."
The 27-year-old Martin went 27-6-2 for the Jackalopes with a 2.50 goals against average and a .918 save percentage, helping the team to its second Governor's Cup title. He was also named MVP for the CHL's All-Star game. Martin, who was born in Ft. Worth, TX and grew up in Alberta, Canada, is a product of the Western Hockey League.
He has played more than 250 games as a professional, and has a 2-1-0 career record in four AHL games. This will be his first time in an NHL setting.
"This will be a great experience for Joel," said Gillis. "At some point he will be re-assigned to Bridgeport, then re-assigned to Odessa, but he'll be a better goaltender for what he's going through now."
The Odessa Jackalopes are the Central Hockey League affiliate for the NHL's New York Islanders and the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The team will begin its 14th season in the Permian Basin in October 2010. Season tickets, mini-plans, and single game tickets are available by calling (432) 552-PUCK or visiting jackalopes.org.
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Central Hockey League Stories from September 26, 2010
- Joel Martin Heading to NHL Camp with Islanders - Odessa Jackalopes
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