Second-year defenceman Mason Martin has been an unsung hero this season for the Flin Flon Bombers.
The 19-year-old is not flashy and doesn’t have gaudy statistics. However, the Bombers know how important he is to their success.
“Everyday we know what we are getting out of him,” Bombers head coach Mike Reagan said. “He’s got a bomb for a shot and defends very well. He is very appreciated by his teammates and our staff.”
As of Sunday, the Bombers have scored 221 goals, third most in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League this season. The team has three of the top 12 scorers. However, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Martin has distinguished himself on the other end of the ice.
“For me, I take a lot of pride in the defensive side of the game. You won’t find me on the offensive side too often,” he said. “I like to try and shut down lines, make sure they don’t score, and move the puck to the forwards right away. Shutting down top lines is always a great feeling and that drives me to work hard on defence.”
However, Martin has shown he can chip in offensively for the Bombers. His 13 points this season surpasses the five he posted as a rookie. Last season, Martin joined the Bombers after captaining the Winnipeg Thrashers midget AAA squad.
“The biggest adjustment coming into Junior A was the pace of the game,” he said. “You don’t have much time to make plays so you have to react quick and know where your guys are at all times. Keeping your head on a swivel and communicating is huge at this level. I’m definitely feeling way more confident this year on the ice.”
Off the ice, Martin has enjoyed his time in Flin Flon. He is familiar with his teammates as he is one of five Winnipeggers currently on the roster and one of six from that city to spend time with the team this season. Last year there were six from Manitoba’s capital city.
“I’ve known all the Winnipeg guys for a while now,” he said. “It’s nice having guys you know come to a team that’s a few hours away from home. At the end of the day, whether you know guys on the team or not, you become a big family and you get close with guys you see everyday.”
Martin has also acquired a second family in Flin Flon. For both of his seasons, he has billeted with the Mansells. They, like the team and community, welcomed him.
“Right when I got here they made me feel a part of their family and I’m very thankful for that,” he said. “What I enjoy most about Flin Flon has to be the support you get from the community. If it’s at the rink or just walking around the town, people are very friendly and always talking to you.”