KALAMAZOO, MI – Joel Martin is set to return to the Kalamazoo Wings for his eighth season, the team announced in a press release on Friday.
The 2016-17 season will be the 14th for the accomplished netminder. Last season was a year filled with many noteworthy accolades for Martin. The Fort Worth, Texas native suited up in 64 (career high) of Kalamazoo’s 72 games and set a new ECHL record for minutes played (3,777) in a season.
Martin’s 36 wins last year tied a career high (2005-06), and his 2,084 saves set a new personal best while ranking second all-time in ECHL history. Martin has had two seasons in his 14-year career with over 2,000 stops.
“Without question, Joel Martin is the hardest working person in our locker room,” K-Wings head coach Nick Bootland said. “That’s the reason he’s at the top of his game at age 33 and is able to handle the workload that’s placed on his shoulders.”
Martin, along with Bootland, were members of the K-Wings 2005-06 UHL Championship Colonial Cup team.
Coming to the K-Wings during the 2004-05 season, Martin left the team for the ECHL following the championship season. Returning for the 2008-09 season, Martin again departed the team, this time for the Odessa Jackalopes of the CHL for two seasons and one season in Denmark. Martin signed with the K-Wings for the 2012-13 season and has been a mainstay ever since.
Martin will enter the 2016-17 season just within reach of some more milestones. The veteran is eight wins shy of Georges Gagnon’s team record of 196 wins, set during his eight year career with Kalamazoo in the IHL from 1979-87. Martin will also begin next season 15 wins shy of fourth place for career wins in ECHL history. Martin jumped from 12th to fifth on the ECHL’s all-time wins list with his 36 victories last year.
“Joel can backstop a championship team,” Bootland added. “It’s that fire to win another one that keeps him going.”
Martin’s place in K-Wings history- Since his debut with the Kalamazoo Wings in the 2004-05 season, Martin has solidified himself as one of the all-time greats in the franchise’s 43-year history.
-Martin’s 21 shutouts rank first in K-Wings history
-His 332 games played rank second in team history.
-His 188 wins are second all-time and eight shy of Gagnon’s team record.
-Martin’s 19,389 minutes played with the Wings rank second in team history.
Martin’s place in ECHL history-
Martin made his ECHL debut in 2004 with the Columbus Cottonmouths. Besides the K-Wings, Martin has also suited up for the Trenton Titans, Elmira Jackals and the Augusta Lynx.
-Martin has 158 career wins, which rank fifth all-time (15 wins shy of fourth).
-Martin’s 3,777 minutes played in 2015-16 stand as the most in a single season in league history.
-Martin registered 36 wins in 2015-16, which were enough for the second most wins by a goaltender in a single season in ECHL history.
-His 64 appearances in 2015-16 rank second in ECHL history, as do his 2,084 saves from last year.
-Martin has the second and third rank for most saves in a single season with 2,084 (2015-16) and 2,051 (2012-13).
-Named ECHL Goalie of the Week for a record eighth time in his career on April 5, 2016.
By: Mark C. McGlothlen