Few hockey fans are unfamiliar with local legend, the “Masked Marvel,” Seth Martin. It was with sad hearts we said goodbye to him September 6; following a battle with cancer, he passed away surrounded by his loved ones. A memorial in his honour was held last Saturday, September 13, at the Cominco Gymnasium in Trail.
Martin was born and raised in Rossland. He began his stunning career as a goaltender playing minor hockey in Rossland before leaving to join the Junior A Lethbridge Native Sons in 1949. Upon graduating from Junior in 1952, he returned home to join the Trail Smoke Eaters and the Western International Hockey League (WIHL).
He was a family man and so, despite offers from the National Hockey League (NHL), he chose to stay in the area as a member of the Tadanac and Cominco Fire Department where he led a 36-year-long career as a firefighter.
It was a blessing for the Trail Smoke Eaters; he led them to five world championships, with a victory in 1961. In 1964, Martin competed at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, where Canada placed a controversial fourth behind Russia, Sweden and Czechoslovakia.
The 1964 games marked the first time Canada had sent a national team to the Olympics and while the roster was dotted with youngsters, the selection committee called on Martin to add his veteran international experience.
From 1964 until 1967, Martin played with the Rossland Warriors as well as other WIHL teams. However, following his last world championship in 1967, Martin finally joined the NHL for a brief stint goaltending with the St. Louis Blues from 1968 to 1969. The Blues made it to the Stanley Cup finals that year but lost to the Montreal Canadiens.
He then returned to Trail and the WIHL. After a second win of the Allan Cup in 1970, he turned to coaching WIHL teams. He will best be remembered as an all-star goalie, but was also an innovative designer of goalie mask and was the first to introduce them overseas.
Martin was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 1997.