Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tommy Daniels Radio Show Highlights - Steve Martinson Talks About Himself and the Allen Americans

Allen Americans Coach Steve Martinson

Want to start out this morning by thanking everyone for coming out to Heritage Ranch last night for the first Tommy Daniels radio show of the season. It was an enjoyable evening getting to talk to coach Steve Martinson about playing hockey as a youngster, his life as a tough guy in professional hockey and also get his take on the Allen Americans team from the improved play recently to roster changes to injury updates.

If you ever spend time with Steve Martinson a few things become obvious very quickly. He is very comfortable in his own skin, hockey has been a big part of his life since childhood, and his family is very important to him. He loves to talk hockey, he has developed a system and style of play that is successful and he knows what works and doesn't work. He is not about to change and you can't argue with his success as he has won eight championships in his eighteen year coaching career. He has missed the playoffs only one time (2011-2012) and he has never lost a game seven in a playoff series.

Steve grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota which is a suburb of Minneapolis and was a rink rat from when he was a little kid. His earliest hockey memories are walking six blocks from his house to the outdoor rink and playing hockey. He also played hockey on local ponds and more than once went through the ice early in the year. Unlike today, back then there were no cell phones, no parents, no supervision and no car to take you home. According to Steve the toughest part of getting soaked was having to walk home as you would be frozen from head to toe by the time you got there. He never had the best equipment growing up as it was always $5 used skates and didn't own hockey gloves when he started playing organized hockey. He has a team picture where he is the only one in the picture wearing mittens instead of hockey gloves. He bought his first pair of new hockey skates for $100 when he was in 10th grade with money he made as a caddy.

Steve attended college and played hockey at St. Cloud State which at the time was a Division II school about 90 miles north of Minneapolis. He never thought he would be a professional hockey player as he was a late bloomer. His plan was to use his business degree after he graduated which he did after his playing days were over becoming a financial planner for Smith Barney. Martinson  turned hard work and determination into a fourteen year pro career in which he played for fourteen different teams including 49 NHL games (Montreal-38, Detroit-10 & Minnesota-1). He met his wife, Michelle, while playing for the Hershey Bears (AHL) from 1985-1987. Steve and Michelle have two children, Logan who is fourteen and Lily who is eleven. Michelle's grandfather (Frank Mathers) was the President and General Manager of the Hershey Bears. Frank Mathers is a legend in AHL hockey history and Steve learned a lot about hockey and life from him.


- The team is playing much better defensively and that has been the key to our success recently. The guys had a players only meeting to talk about how they wanted to play and there has been steady improvement since that meeting. We are scoring fewer goals but are still ranked #4 in the league and are goals against has really improved as we only allowed four goals in three games this past weekend.

- Riley Gill has been great in goal. The word I use to describe him is comfortable. He is relaxed and comfortable when he plays. He has been an MVP in the past, he is consistent, his wife is from Texas and he is a good fit for the team. His excellent play this past week with three wins, a GAA of 1.33 and a save percentage of .956 has earned Riley the honor of CCM ECHL Goaltender of the Week.

- I traded John Ryder to Stockton today for a forward named Jessey Astles. Astles is a gritty forward who will provide toughness and is also a rookie so that helps us with the salary cap. He will be in town on Wednesday.

- I also traded for the rights to a player by the name of Ben Shutron. He is a talented defenseman who was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the fourth round of the 2006 NHL draft. He attended college after his junior career so he is 26 years old but still a rookie. He won championships in juniors (Memorial Cup) and in college (University Cup). He started this year with Orlando and was traded to Wheeling. The Wheeling coach is a former teammate of mine so we worked out a trade for Shutron. He has already returned home (Ontario) and is uncertain if he wants to continue to play hockey this year. This is a wait and see situation.

- Spencer Asuchak and Ian Schultz might play this weekend against Brampton. Schultz should be ready to go as he has been symptom free in practice. We will be very cautious with Asuchak to make sure he is 100% before he plays.

- I am not a big fan of playing on Thanksgiving day as we will have a game with Tulsa that day. We plan on staying in Tulsa overnight so if families want to come to Tulsa to be together they will have that opportunity.


- Allen's stay in first place was short lived as Tulsa beat Wichita last night 4-3 in a shootout and now is one point ahead of Allen in the standings.

- Practice for the team yesterday consisted of no coaches, no drills, just a bunch of guys playing hockey for fun.  Since this year's roster is evenly divided between guys from the US and outside of the US the guys split into Team USA and Team World (Canada +Sweden) and it was a hard fought victory for Team USA. The guys seem to really enjoy the "fun" game of hockey though the competitive spirit was clearly in evidence. What was at stake? Team World has to buy lunch for Team USA.

- Here is Jessey Astles information courtesy of

Jessey Astles

Left Wing -- shoots L
Born Jun 4 1993 -- Coquitlam, BC
[21 yrs. ago]
Height 6.02 -- Weight 205
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2009-10 Kelowna Rockets WHL 56 1 2 3 28 -3 11 0 1 1 0
2010-11 Kelowna Rockets WHL 59 3 3 6 129 -3 10 3 0 3 6
2011-12 Kelowna Rockets WHL 42 2 5 7 84 -5 4 0 0 0 2
2012-13 Saskatoon Blades WHL 22 1 1 2 43 02 0 0 0 2
2013-14 Tri-City Americans WHL 50 11 9 20 67   5 1 0 1 2
2014-15 Stockton Thunder ECHL 7 0 0 0 2 -2

DID YOU KNOW:  Talk about a late bloomer Steve Martinson was 5'2" as a sophomore in high school and when he was a senior he was 5'7" and weighed 150 pounds. By the time he graduated from college he was six feet and weighed 200 pounds.

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