We caught up with former Toronto Maple Leaf fan favourite and current New York Islander Matt Martin at Mitch Marner’s All-Star Invitational Tournament. Martin was generous enough to give us a few minutes of his time to answer some questions on his relationship with Mitch Marner, leaving Toronto and re-joining the Islanders.
Obviously it’s a change being traded, so what’s it like to be back with Mitch and everybody for this event?
It’s great. To be able to be back with the guys first and foremost is nice, I’ve got to see them a couple times over the course of the summer at weddings and whatnot. Then doing things for charity is always fun and doing things for charity with your friends is even more fun.
What made you want to help Mitch with his event?
He reached out and asked if I’d be willing to come and we’ve grown pretty close. I was available to help and he loves to do charity events. He was nice enough to come to my camp in Long Island earlier this summer…. it’s just kind of what you do as athletes when you grow friendships with some guys. Your friends want to do great things like this and raise money for people and you want to find a way to help.
In terms of your relationship with Mitch and the rest of the team, it seems as though it was a fairly tight group. Is it hard to leave the team?
Yeah, I’ll miss not only Mitch but a lot of the guys. That’s kind of part of the business, the great thing is you meet a lot of people and a lot of friends not only on the ice but off the ice as well. You meet people in the city of Toronto that you grow close with but that’s the nature of it and our friendship won’t change away from the rink. Obviously we won’t see each other as much during the season but it’s a friendship I’ll have with him for the rest of my life and a friendship I’ll have with my other teammates for the rest of my life. It’s pretty great that professional sports gives you the opportunity to do that.
In terms of being traded, was it something that you expected?
I had a pretty good feeling. I didn’t play much in the second half of the season and didn’t play at all in the playoffs so I had a pretty good idea that something could transpire in the summer. Obviously this is going to be a better situation for me. As athletes, you always want to play, you always want to be in the lineup so when you’re not doing that you’ve got to try and find a better place.
Does it help that you’ve played with the Islanders before and you’re moving somewhere that you’re familiar with?
To go back to the Island where I spent the first seven years of my career is exciting. A lot of my friends are still there from before, my former line mate is still there. For the other aspects of my life away from the rink, I know places I want to live and I don’t need to meet a whole bunch of new people. It helps for getting back into a rhythm and getting excited for the season to start.
Thanks Matt for taking the time to speak with us and we wish you the best of luck in Long Island!