BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

One proud Panther

A year ago, Megan Martin was in the same position many high school juniors find themselves in: mulling college options and thinking about the possibilities are graduation.

Martin wanted to keep playing hockey as well.

“I was thinking, where am I going to go? What am I going to do? Wouldn’t it be amazing to play hockey more?” Martin said.

Martin, who is now a senior at Alpena High, got both of her wishes granted on Wednesday. She found a school she liked in Davenport University and gets to continue her hockey career after she signed a letter of intent to play with the Panthers’ women’s hockey team.

“It feels really good. I’ve been excited thinking about it for the last couple months and now it’s official and I’m really happy,” Martin said.

Martin, who plans to study marketing at Davenport, played with the Alpena Warriors U19 girls team this season and recorded 40 points as one of the team’s fastest players. Maybe more importantly, Martin was a lead-by-example type of player on the ice and helped build chemistry amongst her teammates.

It was these qualities as well as Martin’s stats that caught the eye of Davenport coach Tom Hofman after he found out about her through a recruiting Web site.

Martin played with the Warriors for three years and finished her high school career with 41 goals and 81 assists for 122 points.

Freshmen players made up half of Davenport’s squad last season and with a new group coming in, Martin will be expected to contribute immediately. She’ll likely center one of the Panthers’ lines between veteran wingers.

“Last year our freshmen contributed a lot. Being a freshman, I see Megan stepping in and playing a huge role right away,” Hofman said.

She’ll join a squad that will be in its second season of competition next year. The Panthers went 7-22 this season and play in the Central Collegiate Women’s Hockey Association along with teams from Michigan, Michigan State, Adrian and Grand Valley State among other schools.

Martin is the second female hockey player from Alpena to advance to the collegiate level in recent years. Emily Duncan, a former player for Alpena High’s varsity team signed with Adrian in 2012.

While some athletes agonize over which school to pick if there are multiple options, Davenport was the only school on Martin’s list when it came to hockey. She hopes her speed and improved tactical ability will be vital assets when she joins the team in the fall, but for now her speed with be called upon as a defender for Alpena’s girls soccer team.

“It’s amazing. I’ve been working so hard and I’m excited to continue working hard and hopefully reach my potential,” Martin said.

Jake Martin, Megan’s father and coach of the Warriors, has seen Megan’s steady progression in her seven years of playing hockey and said her signing with Davenport is a testament to how far women’s hockey has come in Alpena and where it will continue to go.

Local hockey fans will get a chance to see Martin later this season when Davenport hosts Northern Michigan for two games in December during the Battle On the Bay Tournament.

“As a Dad I’m extremely proud, very excited for her and the opportunity in front of her. As a coach, I think it’s a culmination of the program we’ve developing in Alpena,” Jake said. “Her progression has been amazing. Her biggest asset is her speed and she started out playing in Manistique. From where she started at age 11 to where she is today has been a lot of fun to watch.”

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.