Trail will remember a legend

A hockey legend will be remembered Saturday in Trail.

Seth Martin, the best amateur goaltender in the world during the early to mid 1960s, will be laid to rest in his hometown.

Martin, who battled bone cancer the last few years of his life, passed away last Saturday at hospital in Trail.

He was 81.

Martin was on a bus trip in Idaho with his wife Bev when he collapsed inside a casino.

He spent three days in hospital in Idaho before being flown home to Trail where he passed away.

Martin tended goal for the legendary Trail Smoke Eaters who, in 1961, became the last amateur team from Canada to win the World Hockey Championship.

He was named the tournament's top goaltender.

Martin was also named the top goaltender at the World Championships in 1963, 1964 and 1966.

He was also named the top goaltender at the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, where Canada finished a controversial fourth.

His outstanding play on the international stage caught the attention of a young Soviet netminder - Vladislav Tretiak.

“I had also found a hero in hockey, a Canadian goaltender named Seth Martin,” he wrote in his autobiography.

The two would finally meet when Seth Martin was inducted into the World Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997.

Martin's hockey career took him all over Western Canada.

He played one season with the Kelowna Packers (1953-54), the Vancouver Canucks of the old Western League (1959-60) while also toiling in Lethbridge, Spokane, Rossland, Nelson and Portland.

Martin turned pro in the last 60s, playing one season in St. Louis where he helped the expansion Blues get into the Stanley Cup final.

He decided to leave the NHL after one season and return to Trail so he could be eligible for his firefighters pension.

He finally retired in 1973.

Along with his prowess between the pipes Martin was also a pioneer.

He was the first goaltender to wear a mask in international competition.

Martin made his masks at Trail's Cominco mine - continually refining them to make them safer.

Martin's grandson, Casey Kay, who now lives in Kelowna, says he remembers a very normal childhood growing up around his famous grandfather.

"When me and my brother were 8 and 6, or 9 and 7, he gave us his goalie glove and blocker that he used. He wanted us to enjoy them playing road hockey. We actually destroyed his glove and blocker," says Kay.

Saturday's service will be held in Trail's Cominco Gymnasium.

Many in the family will wear Martin's familiar #1 jersey.


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