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Catching Up With Matt Martin

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

Matt Martin wants to be Vinny Chase. 

How his friend Kevin Connolly, who played Eric Murphy on HBO’s “Entourage,” feels about that is unknown, but any conversation about Martin’s summer has to start with “Entourage.” 

I went to the ‘Entourage’ premiere earlier this summer in LA,” Martin said. “I went for five or six days and really enjoyed that. Kevin Connolly showed us a really good time, went out with us and showed us around LA. He took us to some pretty cool events.” 

Still, if he had to pick between being Vinny, E, Ari, Turtle or Drama, he’s going with the leading man. 

“I’d love to be Vinny Chase if I could,” Martin said. “That’s ideal. If I were striving to be someone, it would probably be him.” 

Martin may not live in the Hollywood Hills, but he still leads a pretty charmed life. The Islanders forward was at the Belmont Stakes when American Pharaoh won the Triple Crown, took in a Miguel Cotto fight at Barclays Center and travelled to four weddings, including his brother’s and Josh Bailey’s

Martin’s charisma and outgoing personality seem to lead him to glamorous events, but the NHL’s reigning hits leader – four years running – gives back as much as he gets, continuing the Islanders’ tradition of giving back to the community. He recently wrapped up the inaugural Matt Martin Hockey Academy, which had 88 kids, and is hosting a charity poker tournament on Sept. 10 benefitting his Foundation. Several of his teammates – including Johnny Boychuk, Casey Cizikas, Nick Leddy and Thomas Hickey – will be joining him around the table. 

It’s not unusual to see Martin interact with the community like this. He has his charitable programs benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project, as well as his initiative to fight Cystic Fibrosis with Cizikas. He makes Long Island his home year-round and always reiterates how helping people and putting a smile on kids’ faces is important to him. 

What is unusual is to see Martin get tired, but anyone whose tried taking care of a full hockey camp and a new puppy would feel the same way.  

I got a Rottweiler named Jax,” Martin said. “He’s another one that’s really testing my patience right now. It doesn’t seem to want to listen to me too much. Having a puppy and having 80 kids for a week (at his camp) really humbles you and really teaches you to be patient and enjoy the moment.”

Patience seems to be easier when it comes to raising a pup than summer training. It’s been four full months and Martin is getting restless. The Matt Martin Hockey Academy season is fun, but he’s looking ahead to the NHL season on the horizon.  

“There comes a time in the summer where you are kind of sick of working out and you want to get back into game action,” Martin said. “You want to see all the work you did in the summer – how it paid off. It was a very good summer of training … We’re just about peaked I think and ready to get back into the thick of things.”

Martin’s outlook on the team is positive, with everyone returning one year older and even hungrier after last year’s regular-season success and playoff disappointment. 

“We have a very, very good group and I think we’re going to take even bigger strides this season,” Martin said. “Obviously Game 7 sits sour with a lot of us and I think a lot of guys were thinking about that over the summer training. We’re ready to get back at it and get another crack at the playoffs.”

Training camp starts is less than two weeks. 

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