Andrew Martens is somewhat of a focal point for the Reign defense — as long as he’s here, at least. Martens and P.J. Atherton were the team’s top two offensive defensemen last season, so much so that each spent significant time in the American Hockey League but still ranked first and third, respectively, in scoring among Reign blueliners.
Atherton is now playing in Europe. There was no guarantee that Martens would be here either, after he began training camp in Manitoba with the Moose of the American Hockey League.
His thoughts on the group he found when he arrived in Ontario…
“We’ve got a good group coming back, we’ve got some good young talent coming in, we’ve got some wily veterans too, and I think we’re going to be a real good team. We want to bring a championship back here. That’s our number one goal here.
“You don’t see it too often (bringing back five defensemen on an ECHL team) but I think this is a real good atmosphere, a real good town to play in, the fans always make it exciting for us, and we hope to make it exciting for those fans.
“It’s nice to have some familiar faces on the back end. You know what the guys are giong to do but it’s a new year too, so we’ve got to make sure we stay on top of it. We can’t take a chance and get more comfortable.
“With Manitoba, I had the same role [offensive-minded defenseman]. A little less of a role in Toronto (AHL). They just wanted me to be a solid sixth D-man. Whatever role is asked of me, I just try my best to fill it.”