September 29, 2014

Catching Up With The Past: News About Former NHLers

Recently the hockey world lost two international hockey legends, both from North America. The coverage of the two passings was interesting.

Bob Suter, 57, suffered a heart attack, shockingly taking him away. He lived and breathed hockey every day of his life. He spent as much time as he could at his local rink when he was not scouting for the Minnesota Wild. The former college standout was a fairly anonymous member of the 1980 Miracle On Ice team that won Olympic gold. But he never went on to a NHL career, and only had the briefest of pro careers in the minor leagues. In recent years he's been more famous as a foot note - first as NHL star Gary Suter's brother, and now as Wild standout defenseman Ryan Suter's father.

In no way am I trying to take anything away from Bob Suter. The outcry of love on social media and the deep coverage throughout traditional media outlets shows just how respected he was, and how special that 1980 US Olympic team will always be.

But I found it funny how American hockey fans - you know, the ones we Canadians complain about not caring for hockey or its history - celebrated Suter's life so intently, while Canada barely noticed the passing of Seth Martin.

Seth Martin, the beloved Trail Smoke Eaters goalie who had European audiences in love with him not so unlike Canadian audiences came to respect Vladislav Tretiak, passed away on Saturday. The 81 year old had been battling a rare form of cancer for the past four years.

Martin was a mainstay with the Canadian national hockey program in the 1960s, and later spent a season backing up in Glenn Hall in St. Louis. But at home in the BC Kootenays region and international hockey circles, he will always be remembered as Canada's greatest goalie.

When the Soviets agreed to face off against Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, they were gravely concerned about the goaltending they would face. The Russians were surprised not to see Seth Martin playing for Canada.

Seth who? Some things never change

Seth Martin of Trail Smoke Eaters fame established himself as face of Canadian goaltending over in Europe during the 1960s. Much of Europe, and in particularly Russia, were enamoured with his abilities. It has been said that Vladislav Tretiak and other early European goaltending legends all studied Martin.

Yet back in Canada he remained largely unknown. And sadly with his passing goes our last chance to celebrate a great hockey hero. Kind of like the Americans did with theirs.

The Rossland News, the small town paper in Martin's hometown, recently released a nice read about their hero. Meanwhile in nearby Trail this fantastic memoir was created. Even the IIHF did a great job remembering one of the most instrumental men in hockey history.

Here's some recent news involving former NHL players:

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