ALLEN, Texas – It was a historic night at the Allen Event Center Saturday night as a crowd of 4,658 witnessed something that has happened only three times in pro hockey history. Dante Salituro‘s goal with 8:17 left in the third period salted the game away for Allen and gave head coach Steve Martinson win number 1000. He becomes the third coach and first American born coach to reach 1000 wins.
There was definitely some irony in the win which came one day after Allen was eliminated from the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The 1000th win came against the Tulsa Oilers, a team Martinson played for back in 1983-84.
After the game, Martinson’s wife (Michelle), son (Logan) and daughter (Lily) joined him on the player’s bench to watch a great video tribute put together by the Allen Americans staff with the help of Michelle Martinson. Steve received congratulations from far and wide and the video congrats included coaches, players, media, friends, family, fans, and staff. I am sure at some point it will be put on YouTube but you can be assured the video and much more will be shown when the Americans have a celebration of Martinson’s 1000th win, including the Steve Martinson bobblehead on March 29.
What is remarkable about Martinson’s journey to 1000 wins has been his consistency which I think comes from an intensity and a singular focus on winning. He has averaged 44 wins per season and in some of those seasons, they only played 64-66 regular season games.
He often refers to his family as a 24-hour hockey family and that isn’t far from the truth.
I have worked with Martinson for seven years and what I saw in his office after the on-ice celebration was the same Martinson from year one. He has a hard time being in the spotlight when being praised. When he says he didn’t think about the 1000th win leading up to last night unless someone brought it up that is the absolute truth. He appreciated all of the hard work that went into the video tribute and was truly surprised to hear from so many from his past. It was difficult to get him to reflect on his accomplishments as a parade of people stopped by his office to congratulate him. He was much more comfortable telling old war stories about the people that sent him the video clips. It was classic Martinson with plenty of laughs. In the midst of all the celebration talk, he lapsed back to where he is most comfortable, talking about the game and where improvement is needed for the upcoming game on Tuesday.
There will be public appearances and media coverage over the next few days to acknowledge his 1000 wins but there is no doubt his focus is already on what makes him tick, working on getting the next win.
Allen has played a big part in Martinson’s coaching career. Four of his 10 championships have come in Allen. 273 of his 1000 wins are in Allen. He has won 103 playoff games in Allen, coached in 17 playoff series with the Americans with an overall record of 15-2 in those series. He is 5-1 in seven-game playoff series, including 2-0 in game sevens of championship series. What a career and he is nowhere near done.
Did You Know?
I have always found it interesting when records are talked about they are only for the regular season. Steve Martinson has won 1000 regular season games but he has 252 playoff wins to go along with those 10 championships he has won. So the win Saturday night was actually 1252 in Martinson’s coaching career.