LAKE PLACID - Hockey has been an important part of Butch Martin's life for decades.
The Lake Placid native started as a player and skated on the successful Blue Bombers teams of the 1960s. He continued his competitive career in college at the University of New Hampshire, playing for legendary coach Charlie Holt. After Martin's playing days were over, he moved into coaching and officiating, both of which he still does today.
On March 10 in Utica at the New York State Public High School Championships, Martin was honored for his dedication and success in the game he loves. On the day two champions were crowned at the Memorial Auditorium, Martin was named a 2012-13 inductee into the New York State High School Hockey Coaches' Hall of Fame.
In his office at the North Elba Town Hall in Lake Placid, Butch Martin holds the award he received when he was inducted into the New York State High School Hockey Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame in March at the final four tournament in Utica.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
At the ceremony, Martin joined Dennis G. Sadler of Rochester's Aquinas Institute as the 34th and 35th coaches to be inducted. In the Hall of Fame, Martin also joined the 1979-80 Lake Placid High School team he coached that captured the first Division I state championship in the inaugural season the tournament was held.
"It's definitely an honor," said Martin, who is the head of the North Elba Park District. "I've been around hockey my whole life as a player, coach and referee. Hockey's been great to me."
Becoming a member of the Hall of Fame can be added to a long list of hockey memories Martin will cherish. One recollection Martin mentioned was the Blue Bombers team he helped lead to the state title in a game played at the Olympic Center less than a month after the United States beat USSR then went on to claim the men's hockey gold medal on the same ice sheet.
That year, Lake Placid finished with a 25-4 record including its 4-1 victory over Ithaca in the state title game.
"Talk about a miracle, it had been about a month since we played a game before the state playoffs," Martin recalled. "We were all off because of the Olympics, and we only had two days to get ready. That was a great year for us."
Martin was the head coach of Lake Placid from 1976-81, and he's been behind the Blue Bombers' bench as an assistant to head coach Keith Clark for the past seven seasons. He said one of the most enjoyable things he gets from hockey is still seeing guys he played with, and also watching the kids he coached grow up and continue their involvement in the sport.
"Hockey has always been a big deal in Lake Placid, and I run into guys from the past all the time," Martin said. "Ed Seney, Bill Beaney, we go way back and they are successful college coaches who are still behind the bench today. I see guys I coached still coming to games, I see them in the community, I see them coming back home, and that's great. Hockey certainly is a close community."
Martin became the third person from the area to be inducted into the New York State High School Hockey Coaches' Hall of Fame. Longtime coaches Mark Gilligan of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid's Ray Pratt are the other two members who received the honor.
Before the new convention center was built as an addition to the Olympic Center, the actual Hall of Fame was housed in Lake Placid in a corridor bordering the former Lussi Rink. Martin said he will be excited when its physical presence returns so visitors can view some of the history surrounding high school hockey in New York state.