Monday, February 14, 2011

Tom Martin

Tom Martin appeared in 92 NHL contests and played pro hockey for 7 years. But his biggest claim to fame occurred in junior hockey. In January of 1983 the Seattle Breakers of the Western Hockey League traded the young left winger to the Victoria Cougars in exchange for a used bus.

"It might have been the best deal I ever made" joked Seattle's owner, John Hamilton.

"I heard the bus was a really nice one" said Martin, a couple of years later.

Martin was playing in his hometown of Kelowna, British Columbia when the Winnipeg Jets took him 74th overall in the 1982 entry draft. The following season the 6'2" 200lb tough guy actually joined the University of Denver but dropped out to focus strictly on hockey and jumping to the Western Hockey League. He joined Victoria in 1983 and went on to score 30 goals and 75 points as an over-aged junior. He also added 261 penalty minutes.

The following three seasons Martin spent primarily in the American Hockey League. He appeared in 24 games with the Jets in those three years, scoring twice and accumulating 91 penalty minutes But Martin's third pro season was cut short by injuries. The injuries were a big enough concern for the Jets to allow Martin to walk away as a free agent to Hartford.

Despite scoring 1 goal and 2 assists in just 5 games with the Whalers in 1987-88, he was quickly sent back down to the American league where he had his best season as a pro. He accumulated 28 goals and 61 assists for 89 points along with 344 penalty minutes. Martin was named an AHL First All Star.

Martin's season impressed the Minnesota North Stars enough to claim him on waivers early in the 1988-89 season. However Hartford quickly claimed him back on waivers when Minnesota tried to demote the winger to the minors. Martin finished the season in Hartford for his only full season in the NHL. Martin scored a career high 7 goals and 13 points in 38 games.

Martin split the following season with the Hartford Whalers and their AHL affiliate in Binghamton. However Martin was unable to rediscover his all star form of a couple of years ago and struggled.

Martin signed with the LA Kings in 1990 but only played 22 games with their AHL affiliate before suffering a career ending injury.

In all, Martin played 92 NHL games while scoring 12 times and assisting on 11 others for 23 points. He also added 249 penalty minutes. He was held pointless in 4 playoff games.

But he will always be remembered as the player who was traded for a used bus.

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