TISDALE — Tisdale Trojans defenceman Simon Martin brought home something shiny from the Western Hockey League Cup.
At the prestigious tournament in Red Deer, the 15-year-old Lumsden product helped Team Saskatchewan beat Manitoba 3-2 to win bronze. The Red Deer event, which was held Oct. 20-24, saw the four western Canadian provinces compete with teams featuring the top 2006-born players. British Columbia beat Alberta, 5-2, for gold.
“The thing I enjoyed the most about winning bronze was experiencing that moment with all of my teammates,” Martin said. “It obviously wasn’t the outcome we envisioned, but we never gave up and battled adversity.”
Team Saskatchewan head coach Rod Dallman was pleased with Martin’s play at the event. He said Martin believed in the team concept - which he stated is necessary for high level hockey – and was extremely coachable.
“Simon had a strong tournament and really showed his ability to skate and move pucks quick in all zones,” Dallman said. “He played a defensive role and was instrumental in many penalty killing situations and, with only having five defenceman for the tournament, played a lot and was a key part of our defensive core.”
The level of competition and skill at the WHL Cup is high. Four who were named WHL Cup All-Stars in 2017 were selected in the 2020 National Hockey League draft. The event counts Ethan Bear of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Morgan Rielly among its alumni.
“The competition was very fast and skilled,” Martin said. “Competing in the WHL Cup will help me in the future because I learned many valuable things not only on the ice but also off the ice.”
Trojans head coach Dennis Kubat said the WHL Cup will help Martin’s confidence and exposure. The players competing in the WHL Cup are eligible for December’s 2021 WHL Prospects Draft.
“I really liked the exposure to the amount of pressure that comes with playing in the WHL Cup,” Martin said. “It really pushed me to be mentally tough and battle through the ups and downs.”
In Saskatchewan Male AAA U18 Hockey League play, Martin has two assists in eight games for the Trojans.
“His skating is probably some of the best for an ’06 around … He makes a good first pass. He is just starting to come into his own,” Kubat said.
Already this season, Kubat has seen Martin’s game develop. As well, the coach has been pleased to have his personality on the squad.
“He’s been amazing,” Kubat said. “He’s always happy. Always positive. The sky’s the limit for him. He’s just scratching the surface of what kind of player he can be. I’m excited to see Simon two years from now. Hopefully, we can really develop him. … He’s a perfect example of what we want a Trojan to be.”
Martin billets in Tisdale with the Cole and Stacey Simpson family. He has enjoyed time with the Trojans so far.
“The best part of playing with the Trojans is being surrounded with great people,” Martin said. “I’m really grateful that I get the opportunity to put in work with the teammates and coaches that I have.”
The Trojans last week
Saturday, Oct. 30 in Tisdale
Notre Dame 8, Tisdale 7 OT
Trojans Scorers: Matthew Van Blaricom (2), Finley Radloff, Pavel McKenzie, Carter Ralston, Ashtyn Shields, Madden Wallis
Hounds Scorers: Ben Aucoin (2), Ishan Mittoo-Khulbe (2), Owen Thomas, Ethan Look, Andrew Altwasser, Antoine Lavigne
Goalies: Cody Wilson, Tisdale, 35 saves on 43 shots; Joey Rocha, Notre Dame, 8 on 14; Wilson Maxfield, Notre Dame, 6 on 7
Notes: The Trojans earned an important point in the standings as they battled back to force overtime against one of the league’s top three teams. “We faced a lot of adversity in the game and the guys just kind of bought in and bore down. All year they’ve been really good at keeping the bench positive … and staying focused on their task and keeping that positive attitude. It was nice to see them rewarded,” head coach Dennis Kubat said. After Tisdale scored first, Notre Dame had three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead. Tisdale got one back to make the score 3-2 at the intermission. Three Notre Dame goals to open the second put the Trojans in a 6-2 hole but they cut it to 6-3 before the intermission. In the third, Notre Dame increased its lead to 7-3 before Tisdale exploded for four goals to knot the contest. Hound Owen Thomas scored in overtime. Blaricom and Shields, the home star, each had four points.
Sunday, Oct. 31 in Tisdale
Regina 7, Tisdale 4
Trojans Scorers: Pavel McKenzie (2), Matthew Van Blaricom, Finley Radloff
Pat Canadians Scorers: Ben Riche (2), Peyton Kostiuk, Ryan Zaremba, Brayden Barnett, Casey Brown, Zayden Sadlemyer
Goalies: Brady Kashuba, Tisdale, 36 saves on 43 shots; Ewan Soutar, Regina, 8 on 12; Kelton Pyne, Regina, 2 on 2
Notes: League leading Regina led 2-1 and 6-2 at the intermissions. “It’s just a battle of having to bring it every day,” head coach Dennis Kubat said. “Just believing in yourself as a player and not letting the record of the other team or the names on the backs of the jerseys make you lose focus. Just believing that you can play with any team in this league, as we did against Notre Dame.” Defenceman Simon Martin was the home star.
“We really buried our chances [last weekend], so it was nice to see. Having so many rookies, just getting used to the game pace and what it takes to score in this league, getting more familiar with our systems. I think it has been really beneficial that way. It’s nice to see those chances going in.”
— Trojans head coach Dennis Kubat on how his team scored 11 goals over two games
The Tisdale Trojans (1-8-0-1) host the Warman Wildcats (10-2-0-1) on Friday and the Prince Albert Mintos (7-4-0-1) on Saturday.