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Leaf profile: Patrick Martens reaches back to his Atom roots to find pot of goal at end of hockey stick

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
October 21st, 2011

Throughout the KIJHL season The Nelson Daily Sports Editor Bruce Fuhr will take a capsule look at the players on the Nelson Leafs hockey club. Today the focus in on the red-hot Patrick Martens. The Maple Ridge Minor Hockey grad has been on one of the most amazing streaks in Nelson Leafs hockey history and now leads the KIJHL in scoring.

Filling the net, like a Sidney Crosby or Wayne Gretzky, is the dream of every Canadian minor hockey player.

However, seldom does the dream come true. Which is why there are so many checkers and grinders in hockey.

Patrick Martens was one of those grinder-like players. That was until his sophomore season in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

Martens, or “Marty” to his teammates, has been on quite a roll for the Nelson Leafs. A streak that has seen the native of Moncton, N.B. score in the last ten games – including a seven-goal explosion during a recent road swing through the South Okanagan.

Martens added a pair Wednesday night at the Murdoch Division-leading Leafs knocked off rival Beaver Valley 5-3.
 It was the seventh multiple point game during the streak for the 18-year-old sniper.

“I think the last time I scored like this was in Atom. . .. I maybe had one four-goal game in Midget but nothing like this,” Martens, researching the career memory bank, admitted prior to practice at the NCDD Arena.

“It definitely makes me more confident now,” added the 6-foot, 180-pound forward who has more points in 14 games this season than he did in the entire 2010-11 KIJHL season.

“Our line is getting lots of chances now and it’s giving us lots of confidence knowing that I can put the puck in the net.”

Martens is one of the few finds last season of coach and GM Chris Shaw.

The Maple Ridge product had just experienced a successful conclusion to his minor hockey career playing for Ridge Meadows Midget AAA, where the squad lost in the B.C. Minor Hockey Midget AAA Championship to Kelowna.

Martens registered ten points in six games to lead Ridge Meadows in scoring.

Shaw liked what he saw, convincing the speedster to join the Green and White after a long courtship.

“He (Shaw) has been watching me since Bantam,” Martens explained. “We  began a personal relationship and I decided to come to Nelson after talking to him.”

However, the season under Shaw probably wasn’t the most enjoyable the 13-year career for Martens.

Still, once hearing about the coaching change, Martens was confident with the core that was returning, this season would be different.

“I heard Frank (Maida) was going in to coach and he coached with Simon Wheeldon and had good teams so I felt this was a good decision,” Martens said. “Plus I like the group of guys we have here so I was excited to come back.”

And boy has there ever been a change both on and off the ice.

Nelson has taken advantage of an abundance of home games to jump out to a 11-3-0-1 mark — tops in the entire KIJHL.

Much of the reason for the early season success — Nelson is 8-2 in the last 10 games — is due part to the line of Martens, Matthew Naka and Colton Schell.

The trio filled the net during the weekend series in the South Okanagan before combining for seven points in Wednesday’s win over Beaver Valley.

“We’re doing everything the same,” Martens said when asked about the secret of the Naka, Martens, Schell unit.

“We’re playing really well as a line, not worrying about who get points. Right now it’s kind of my turn and I’ve been fortunate to be able to put the puck in the net.”

“But it doesn’t really matter which one of us on our line or on the team scores,” Martens added. “Just as long as one of us scores and the team are winning.”

The early season success has allowed Nelson to lead the Murdoch Division almost from the start of the season. Which has played a big part to the camaraderie on the Leaf roster.

“It definitely wasn’t much fun playing last year,” said Martens, who spend time in Chile with family before moving to Maple Ridge with parents, mother Cindy and father Terry — the latter a big influence on his hockey career.

“But being competitive this year has made the game a lot more funner the it was last year.”

And then there’s the filling of the net for Martens who has climbed into top spot in KIJHL scoring.

A similar spot those guys Crosby and Gretzky occupied on a yearly basis.

Nice to see good things come to those who wait.

Patrick Martens Fast Facts:
Position: right wing
Age: 18
Born: Moncton, NB
Hometown: Maple Ridge
Height: 6-feet
Weight: 180 pounds
Favourite music: A bit of everything
Favourite hockey player: Pavel Datsyuk
Favourite NHL team: Colorado Avalanche
Hobbies other than hockey: Golf . . . sorry, hockey
Blackberry or iPhone: Blackberry
Future goals: Attend college to pursue an engineering degree
 

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