Wed, Dec 03, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Hubert ‘Pit’ Martin, 65, dies in icy lake

AP , MONTREAL

Hubert “Pit” Martin, a four-time NHL All-Star in the 1960s and 1970s, has died after his snowmobile plunged into an icy lake, Quebec provincial police said. He was 64.

Constable Marie-Josee Ouellet said Martin was driving the vehicle on Lake Kanasuta in northwestern Quebec on Sunday when the ice cracked and he plunged into the freezing water.

Another man who was driving a separate snowmobile at the time has confirmed Martin ended up in the water, Ouellet said.

Divers were attempting to retrieve Martin’s body.

Former Chicago Blackhawks teammate Dale Tallon, now the team’s general manager, said Martin was a “wonderful guy” and a great hockey player.

“He always came back in the summer to play golf,” Tallon said. “I always admired him as a kid growing up in Noranda. ... It’s very sad.”

Martin, who would have turned 65 next week, lived on an island in the lake that was reached by boat in summer and snowmobile in winter, but there were always tricky periods in spring and fall when the ice had to be tested regularly, Tallon said.

Martin played 1,101 NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks, amassing 809 points from 1963 to 1979.

“He was a very smart player, with good speed, and an excellent playmaker,” said Tallon, who was seven years younger than Martin and was a good friend of his younger brother while growing up.

Tallon and Martin ended up as teammates through most of the 1970s in Chicago.

Martin was part of one of the biggest blockbuster trades in hockey history in 1967, when he and two other players were shipped to Chicago in the deal that made Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield part of a Bruins dynasty.

He was a strong skater and passer whose best years came on Chicago’s MPH line with Jim Pappin and Bobby Hull. The Blackhawks had been planning to honor the line at the United Center this season.

Martin won the Masterton Trophy for sportsmanship and perseverance in 1969-70, his first of three 30-goal campaigns. He had a career-high 90 points in 1972-73 with the Blackhawks.

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