Thursday, December 20, 2012

Martin Houle Autographed Card

My friend Denis Poulin, who happens to run the comedy website/phone app Les Zinternettes, sent me an amazing get-well present yesterday: an in-person signed card of Martin Houle in the Philadelphia Flyers' white uniform!

Houle was a top goaltending prospect who was second in the LHJMQ in 2003-04 for wins (34) and goals-against average (2.32), which earned him the award for best goalie and led to his being drafted by the Flyers, a steal at 232nd overall. The following season, he was named the league's Defensive Player Of The Year and was again among the leaders in GAA (2.51, good for 5th place).

After only 7 games with the ECHL's Trenton Titans in which he managed to hold the league's sixth-best GAA (2.10) to go with his .935 save percentage, he was called up by the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms where he finished the season as the team's starting goalie; he was also named the team's top rookie. Things were looking up, and his progress was constant.

In 2006-07, he even managed to play his lone NHL game with the Flyers, surrendering a goal in little more than 2 minutes of play, to end up with a lifetime NHL GAA of 27.27 and played the rest of the year with the Phantoms, with unusual GAA (3.32) and save % (.893) numbers, due in part to a knee injury from which he would never fully recover.

He would never again have a save percentage over .900 and would mainly spend the next few seasons in the ECHL (with 3 different teams), except for 10 games with the Phantoms in 2007-08. After two years of not playing at all, he came back in 2010-11 for 29 games in the LNAH with the Rivière-Du-Loup 3L, and his rights in that league currently belong to the Sorel-Tracy HC Carvena (formerly GCI).

My friend Denis works with Houle at an accounting firm, which is where he got him to sign this 2006-07 O-Pee-Chee card (#600, Marquess Rookies sub-set) by Upper Deck in black sharpie for me, as I slowly recover from a near-fatal pancreatitis and am confined to my home with not enough energy to take a short walk outside. I can't tell you how happy I was that they would do this for me. Almost makes it worth having been ill!


  1. Sounds tough. Very cool card and story, Hope you get better soon.

    1. Thanks. I'm already feeling much better, just 4 days after that post. The doctors said I'd recover my strength before mid-January, and it seems very likely at this point.