Inside Prince George limits, the Martin family name is synonymous with baseball, fastball and hockey. Without the remarkable volunteer efforts and sponsorship dollars of Joe, Bernard, Maurice, John and Pat Martin and their respective clans, the local sports landscape would be nowhere near as rich as it is today.
For their tireless work and lasting involvement in local sports, Bernard, Maurice, John and Pat are new additions to the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame. They join in the hall Joe Martin, baseball builder and sponsor, who was inducted in 1998.
Drive, walk or ride a bike through the streets of the city, and before long you will spot a baseball or fastball park built with the help of Martin hands. Nechako Centennial Little League Park, Joe Martin Little League Park, Volunteer Little League Park, Heather Park, Carrie Jane Gray Babe Ruth Park, Rotary Babe Ruth Park, Monty Gabriel Park and the Big 6 Senior Mens Fastball Park – they all either saw a Martin operating heavy machinery, wielding a shovel or hammer, or opening up a wallet in support of the project.
It is impossible to fully detail in this Prince George Sports Hall of Fame program the contributions of Joe, Bernard, Maurice, John and Pat and their families. Beginning with Bernard Martin, though, the summary unfolds in the following paragraphs.
Bernard was a sponsor of Clandonald Logging Nechako Little League for 22 years (1963-1985), helped build Martin Park for Nechako Babe Ruth Baseball in 1973 and rebuild it to Joe Martin Park for Nechako Little League in 1975. He also assisted with the construction of the Heather Park Babe Ruth facility by clearing the trees. He performed the same task when the Elksentre skating arena was built.
Bernard’s other volunteer efforts included groundskeeping for countless baseball tournaments. Some of the ones on the list are Pacific Northwest regional events in 1988, 1992 and 1995, the B.C. Summer Games in 1989 and the Baseball Canada Senior Championship in 2002 at Monty Gabriel Park. Alongside Bernard for much of his work was wife Edith, who helped lay sod at several fields and applied fresh coats of paint to numerous concession stands.
On to Maurice Martin. Maurice was also a sponsor of Clandonald Logging Nechako Little League from 1963 to 1985 and was present for the building of Martin Park and then Joe Martin Park. As well, Maurice lent his time to the clearing of the land at the Heather Park Babe Ruth complex and the Elksentre.
In men’s fastball, Maurice also sponsored the Clandonald Logging teams from 1970 to 1972. For many years, Maurice spent his July 1st long weekend working in the concession stand at the annual Native Men’s Fastball Tournament.
John Martin and Pat Martin have both been faithful sponsors of baseball and fastball during their years in Prince George. They both sponsored Nechako Little League house and all-star teams, as well as the P & J Logging and Tabor Lake Logging fastball teams. Anytime a tournament program was printed to help support a particular event, the advertising dollars of John and Pat would be within the program pages. Advertising their businesses on baseball park signage was another way they made sure their cash helped give various leagues a solid financial base.
John’s wife, Mary, and Pat’s wife, Ruth, have both been loyal volunteers and spectators at ball parks for decades.
With the Martin family, getting involved either as a volunteer or as an athlete appears to be generic in nature. Many of the Martin offspring – too many to list – have contributed to the local sports scene in one of those two capacities.
In just a small sampling from the Pat Martin line, Dan Martin, one of Pat’s four sons, is the current president of the Prince George Minor Hockey Association and has been on the PGMHA executive since 1993. Julie and Samantha, two of Dan’s daughters and Pat’s granddaughters, are active in soccer in the summer months and play all-star hockey for the Curtis Elite Midget Female Cougars.
Another one of Pat’s granddaughters, Tracey Jones (nee Martin), is an elite-calibre curler who represented the northern part of the province at the 2003, 2004 and 2005 B.C. Scott Tournament of Hearts. Melinda Kotsch (nee Martin) played alongside Jones at the Scott in 2004 and 2005.
One of Pat’s grandsons, Chris Martin, is a former member of the Prince George Spruce Kings junior hockey club. Mike Martin Jr., another grandson of Pat, was a key member of the Prince George Grays junior baseball team and now plays in the local senior men's league.
Other Martins have participated at high levels in figure skating, lacrosse, basketball and volleyball.
One of the Martin family members, as mentioned in the Hall of Fame nominations package, gave the following thought on the Martin clan:
“We should have never been homeowners, just owned a motorhome and parked outside the ball field or lacrosse box in the summer and the hockey rink in the winter.”
Those words are as pure and true as a homerun to straight-away centre field. They perfectly summarize why the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame now has more Martins inside its walls.