KENSINGTON, P.E.I. – Dave Martin’s influence on his players extended well beyond the rink.
Years later, players he coached during impressionable teenage years still rave about not only a great coach, but an individual who had a huge impact on their development as both athletes and individuals.
“Dave was a guy who was dedicated to the game,” said former player Darren Baglole. “He was a motivator. He motivated us to play the best we could all the time.
“He knew the game, Dave played a lot himself and he was a great fan of the game. He was a great coach, and got us to where we had to go.”
Kensington and Area Minor Hockey hosted the inaugural Dave Martin Memorial midget A tournament over the weekend. Martin, who died in November 2017, took over as minor hockey director in Kensington in 1968, and he would go on to coach at all levels of minor hockey for many years in Kensington. One of his highlights was coaching the Kensington Compton Auto Body team to the 1980-81 provincial midget C championship.
Dave Martin Memorial midget A hockey tournament facts:
- This year marked the tournament’s inaugural year
- A total of eight teams competed over three days. Games were played at Credit Union Centre in Kensington and Gateway Arena in Borden-Carleton
- The top four teams advanced to the semifinals, which featured two overtime games ending in identical 2-1 scores. The Southside Lynx edged the host Kensington Junior Vipers while North River Team Three got by North River Team One
- The championship game was equally exciting as Owen Wilkie scored the winning goal in a shootout to give North River Team Three a 2-1 win over Southside
- Sunday’s semifinal and championship games were rescheduled for early in the morning due to the forecasted storm
- While Credit Union Centre in Kensington was the main venue, round-robin games were also played at the Gateway Arena in Borden-Carleton
- Members of the Martin-coached 1980-81 provincial midget C champions attending the opening ceremony were Darren Baglole, Jed Burt, Russel Clark, Garth Cole, Ian Doughart, Kevin Reeves, Doug McNutt, David Johnson and Paul Montgomery
- Organizers have confirmed that this tournament will be an annual event
Baglole, team captain and fellow forward Paul Montgomery, forward Ian Doughart and goaltender Jed Burt were four of a number of players on that team, along with some players from different teams Martin coached over the years, in attendance for the tournament’s opening ceremony at Credit Union Centre on Saturday.
“Coach Dave took us and made us Island champions,” Montgomery told the crowd.
“We had a great year. No one would remember how many games we won or lost during that season, and I do not even remember how the two-game (total-goal) series (against St. Louis) for the Island championship went.
“I do, however, remember we were tied after the two games, and it came down to a one-game playoff on neutral ice in the old Steele Arena in Summerside. I think it was the only time a team from Kensington ever thought of Summerside as neutral ice.”
Martin possessed a strong desire to win, which was evident for the coin toss that would determine the home team for the deciding game of the provincial championship.
“He told me, ‘If you have a chance to call the coin toss, I’ll flip the coin and call heads,’” recalled Montgomery.
“Sure enough, he flipped the coin, we won the coin toss and we were the home team, which really and truly wouldn’t have made any difference. There was no such thing as line matching back in those days.
“Winning the coin toss inspired us, and Dave certainly had us fired up. He had us believing in ourselves to go out and do our best, and that our best would be good enough. On that day it was – we ended up winning the game 10-2.”
“The things that Coach Dave taught us have always been true – work hard, do your best and your best will be good enough. Coach Dave taught us respect is a two-way street; coaches respect their players, players respect their coaches and everyone respects the game.”
-Former player Paul Montgomery
One story before the opening ceremony that had former players laughing was Kensington’s home game against St. Louis in the provincial final. Back then, teams mostly only had one goaltender. Burt, a well-known local paramedic, was called out on an emergency ambulance call just before he was to head to the rink.
“I arrived at the arena five minutes before game time, and Dave was almost having a massive heart attack,” recalled Burt, who admitted it was a fast trip in the ambulance from the old Prince County Hospital in Summerside to the then Community Gardens after completing the call.
“It was the fastest I ever put gear on, I got one shot for warmup and then it was game time.”
Martin was a star player before turning to coaching, and was a proud member of the 1963-64 Maritime-champion Summerside Junior Legionnaires.
“He really taught us a lot of respect, and to play hard for one another,” reflected Doughart. “He really liked to win, he had a tremendous amount of respect for the game, but a tenacity to win.”
But most importantly, acknowledged Montgomery, the players have never forgotten the life lessons they learned from Martin. Montgomery would go on to coach minor hockey in Kensington for many years, and he incorporated a lot of Martin’s teachings into his own coaching style.
“The things that Coach Dave taught us have always been true – work hard, do your best and your best will be good enough,” said Montgomery. “Coach Dave taught us respect is a two-way street; coaches respect their players, players respect their coaches and everyone respects the game.”
Asked about Martin’s style of coaching, Doughart described him as a players’ coach.
“He was firm but fair,” added Doughart. “He was a quiet leader.”