Martel caps junior career with Bob Reid Memorial Award

by Gary Ahuja

Langley Thunder's Ryan Martel won the BCJALL Bob Reid Memorial Award. Gary Ahuja Langley Events Centre file photo

An award to begin his junior A lacrosse career and now one to cap off a spectacular three seasons for Ryan Martel.

In 2017, the Aldergrove native earned the BC Junior A Lacrosse League’s Marcolis Gilson Award as rookie of the year following a 43-goal, 97-point season for the Langley Thunder.

And on August 8, Martel – who has graduated from the junior lacrosse ranks – was the recipient of the Bob Reid Memorial Award. The award is presented for outstanding achievement. He was also named a BCJALL first-team all-star.

The 21-year-old Martel capped off his junior career with a dominant offensive season, posting career highs in all three offensive categories: goals (46), assists (56) and points (102). And while he finished third in the BCJALL in points and fourth in both goals and assists, Martel – who missed five games -- did lead the league in points per game, averaging 6.0, a full point ahead of the second-place finisher.

For his three-year Thunder career (he also played two games in both 2015 and 2016 as a call-up) Martel finished with 140 goals and 161 assists for 301 points in 58 games, an average of 5.2 points per game.

Impressive numbers.

While Martel said it is a great sense of accomplishment to receive the award, he also knows none of this would be possible without his teammates.

“The secret to my offensive success was having seven other great offensive guys on our team,” he explained. “We all stuck together and worked as a unit and didn’t care who was putting the ball in the net.”

Martel scored in 15 of the 16 games he played in 2019 and in seven of those games, he has four or more goals, including a five-game stretch where he scored 22 goals.

But Martel was not just some one-dimensional goal-scorer. In fact, a beautiful aspect of Martel’s game is the fact he can score when necessary but is also equally adept at playing distributor when the situation calls for it.

So is he a better scorer or playmaker?

Both according to Thunder head coach Dane Dobbie.

“He can put the ball in the net very well and at the same time, when he is drawing the attention, he can be a great feeder,” Dobbie said. “Ryan has such great vision, intelligence and determination. He sees the floor very well and knows how to use all his strengths for his teammates to have success.”

The coach also credited Martel for his lacrosse IQ.

“He is such an intelligent player and understands the game so well and I knew I was going to get his best every time he stepped on the floor,” Dobbie said. “And he has such a will and drive to be successful and make everyone around him better.”

Thunder assistant general manager Ryan Williams isn’t surprised by Martel’s success.

“We have seen some of the best goals come from him but at the same time, some breathtaking passing and playmaking,” he said. “He is a special player and we look forward to watching him continue at the WLA and NLL levels.”

With his junior days behind him, Martel will enter the WLA Junior Draft in February. He also prepares for his third season in the National Lacrosse League with the Calgary Roughnecks.

Playing at the pro level, Martel suited up in five games in 2018 and then 10 this past season (as well as two playoff games) for Calgary and has eight goals and 23 points under his belt.