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Reflections on Pit Martin

Thursday, 12.04.2008 / 12:58 PM / Features
By Harvey Wittenberg  - Web Contributor
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Reflections on Pit Martin
I feel very fortunate in my years with the Blackhawks that I had the opportunity to get know many of the players off the ice.  Like Keith Magnuson, I got to know Pit Martin, who was a special person and his untimely passing this week saddened me along with those who knew him.

I was happy to spend a little time with him at the Blackhawks Convention in July and I can recall another time I had dinner with him and his wife at a Bobby Hull roast 20 years ago.

Pit was certainly part of one of the most controversial trades in Blackhawks history when he joined the team in 1967 after brief stops in Detroit and Boston. He came to the Hawks along with goalie Jack Norris and defenseman Gilles Marotte for Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield.

Pit and Stan Mikita shared the Hawks captaincy for two seasons (1975-76, 1976-77) and he led the team in scoring  in '75-76 while appearing in four straight All-Star games.

A scrappy player, despite his size, Pit was extremely liked by his teammates and respected by his opponents on and off the ice.

Some unknown facts about Pit are that in his first NHL game he got an assist on a goal by Gordie Howe. Also, he is the only player I know that played with Bobby Orr both in Chicago and Boston.

NHL records may be vague in this area, but Pit is the only player I am aware of who scored four goals against the Hawks, then scored four with them against his first NHL team -- Detroit.  He got the four with Boston on 1/27/66 while beating the Hawks 5-3, and in the season finale on 3/30/69 he scored four in the 9-5 whipping of the Red Wings at the Stadium.

The following season Pit became the first Blackhawk to win the Masterton Trophy for sportsmanship, perserverance and dedication to hockey, which he considered his finest accomplishment.

He played with Pierre Pilote, Bobby Hull, Tony Esposito, Mikita and Magnuson -- 5 of the 7 Hawks' whose jerseys have been retired.

Along with linemates Dennis Hull and Jim Pappin -- better known as the M-P-H line -- they set a team mark for points.

I was fortunate to be doing the color on the radio with Lloyd Pettit on April 9, 1972 when Pit set the Hawks record  for the fastest playoff overtime goal -- 12 seconds in Pittsburgh.

The following year in the playoffs he became only the second Hawk to register two hat tricks in post-season action.

My condolences and prayers go out to his family. Hubert "Pit" Martin... a wonderful person will be missed!