Martin and Gruenke to Return for Jackalopes
(Odessa, TX) - The Odessa Jackalopes announced today that goaltender Joel Martin and defenseman Garrett Gruenke are returning to the team for the upcoming 2010-11 Central Hockey League season.
Martin comes back to the Permian Basin after being named the CHL's Most Outstanding Goaltender last year when he compiled a 27-6-2 record, a 2.50 Goals Against Avg., and a .918 Save Percentage. He became just the second goaltender in franchise history to receive the honor (Mike Gorman, 2002).
"Last season was great to win that award and finish with the best record in the regular season," said Martin. "But our goal was a championship, and we weren't able to reach that goal so I'm excited about next season and coming back and trying to help us not only reach the finals but to win it."
Martin was also named the starting goaltender in the 2010 CHL All-Star Game in Laredo, TX. The Three Hills, Alberta native stopped 27 of 28 shots in the first period to be named the All-Star Team's MVP of the game.
Gruenke will begin his third season for the Jackalopes when the puck drops in October. The 6'5", 210-pound defenseman has been a physical presence on the ice, having racked up 325 penalty minutes over the last two years. He scored his first goal as a professional on October 23, 2009 at Amarillo in a 9-4, Odessa win. He also chipped in a pair of goals during the 2010 playoffs, including the overtime-winner in game six against the Allen Americans.
"It's great to come back for another year. The fans are great, the team is great, the organization is great," added Gruenke. "I'm excited about the team we'll have this year and looking forward to getting back out there with our guys and trying to get that championship."
"(Martin) was solid for us last season in net and that's where it starts when you're trying to build a quality team," said head coach Paul Gillis. "Combined with Van Drunen, (Gruenke) brings back a physical presence on our blue line to help anchor our defense. We're happy to have them both back."
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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