Photo Credit: LSSU Athletics
Regarding Alabama Huntsville’s profile of their now 14 freshmen on the roster ” “I was just looking for a chance somewhere. ” Is probably the best summation of the persistence and dedication needed by many on this roster just to get seen and offered a scholarship this summer. Orator of that quote, Josh Martin, is the newest Charger that is eligible to play with his new team this weekend. He is as dedicated to rooting for his hometown teams in and around while.
Martin has not played a game of hockey against another team since last March for the North American Hockey League’s Lone Star Brahmas on March 7,2020. If the Chargers are able to play at home against Michigan Tech this week, and Martin makes the lineup on Friday, February 5, 2021, then 335 days will have passed in between. Martin was originally supposed to play for the Seawolves of Alaska Anchorage.
He started the fall semester at the University of Alaska Anchorage but did not stay there very long. The day after the Brownstown Michigan native moved to Alaska for the fall semester, he got news that the program would be folding following the season. While the Seawolves’ program is trying to be brought back with a fundrasing campaign in a bigger scope than the Save UAH campaign had to get, and we wish them success in that, players like Martin had to find another place to play.
Enter Alabama Huntsville, they were the first school to offer Martin a spot, and one that did so in a way that matches Martin’s style. That is, Martin, and this coaching staff are both “very dedicated” (as Martin said to describe himself) to continuous improvement and development. When Josh initiated the conversation with Karlis Zirnis and Lance West, Zirnis took the lead in talking with Martin. The Chargers, thanks in part to the ever-continuing hard work of Zirnis, where the first team to offer him a spot, yet without UAH, he might not have been able to play this year, and had to sit out his freshman season all together. Coincidentally, one of his roommates (Martin’s) is Frank Vitucci, who had no division one offers until West and Zirnis called him this summer.
During the recruiting process, the efforts to have the program reinstated and funded in the long-run played prominently in the talks to get Martin to Huntsville. Rightly, anyone who joined a team that announced it would fold would due their correct diligence before changing programs, especially to one that needed its second herculean fundraising effort to save it once more. As plain as day, the hard work of all involved with the Save UAH group, combined with the support Martin saw at the grassroots level in Huntsville for the Chargers are two major reasons why this stay-at-home and shutdown defender is a Charger. The coaching staff explained the long term plan to Martin, and knowing the full details of it, on helping UAH rise to their once held level of glory in this sport, and beyond it, Josh Martin signed up to go to UAH and help this team in their hunt to get back to the NCAA Tournament.
Martin is a 6 foot, 3 inches tall defender that will remind people a lot of Bryan Scoville and Ayodele Adeniye in terms of how they all play. While we expect him to play a fair bit this year in the right circumstances, having Martin gives West some options on the back end. First, it would effectively give him two shutdown pairs if Martin plays with any of the fourth defenders not with the Scoville-Adeniye pairing. On the other hand, if the staff wants flexibility, then look for seven defenders to be used with some regularity, and Martin could play on another pair in times of needing a stop, and the more offensive defender could play when needing a goal . In addition, Martin finished as a disciplined player for Lone Star, taking only 14 penalties in 42 games.
After the deluge of the initial set of commitments this summer, this is the first true test to see what type of players Lance West wants to mold. If Martin can ever so slightly improve his acceleration skills, and get better in his own end throughout his time as a Charger, he has the experience the room he has to grow is limitless.
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