#17 Matt Martin - Still A Mystery

Photo: Christian Abraham / Connecticut Post 

There are traditions within the Sound Tigers fraternity as there are all such of organizations.  Some involve rookie chores or duties, i.e. preforming the 'Chicken Dance' at the annual Booster Club (BSTBC) winter dinner, others are the pranks and hazing’s you find on any college campus.

One tradition was the annual Super Bowl Sunday trip to the casino.  I have no idea which players won or lost on the 2/7/10 trip for Super Bowl XLIV but one player who turned out to be a big winner that day did not make the trip.

As published in the ‘2011-12 New York Islanders Yearbook’, the Garth Snow Islanders are committed to the farm system.  “Over the last five seasons, an average of 15 players per season have received a call-up from the franchise’s American Hockey League affiliate, The Bridgeport Sound Tigers.”

To watch the 2010 Super Bowl I once again went to my ‘place of choice’, no longer in business, The Harborside Bar and Grille.   It was not a sports bar so you could actually watch the game and enjoy the commercials.  This was also the ‘place of choice’ for the 2009-10 Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Too young to be allowed in the casino (by just three months) Matt Martin showed up to watch the game.  Matt was accompanied by Michael Haley, players never go out alone and who better to watch your back then #18.  Each season I provide the restaurant manager and good friend, Dave Petrone, with a list of underage players.  Dave a huge fan of hockey and friend of Haley’s always accommodates.

I had my laptop on during the game when news came that Martin had been called up.  I went to Matt and congratulated him on his success.  He looked surprised, probably because the news was already on the net or perhaps because he was still unaware.  I will never know.

His 2/9/10 Islanders debut was a hit, recording 2 assists while making his presence known all over the ice.  Martin was returned to The Sound Tigers where he continued to make significant contributions to the club.  On March 6, 2010 in an away game against Providence Martin threw a clean hit against the boards on Bruins Trent Whitfield.  Matt took a skate to the face as both players fell to the ice.  With seventeen stitches to the jaw and a full face shield he returned to finish the game.  He is a hockey player.

Whether Matt asked for an extra stitch to match his number 17 or the number just fell to him remains unknown.  His hits are not a mystery – he leads the NHL in that category and remains a valuable member of The Islanders checking line.

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