Monday, March 17, 2014

Alec Martinez (Rookie) Swatch Card

It has been said long and wide that Wayne Gretzky's trade to the Los Angeles Kings going into the 1990s changed the face of hockey, not just in the NHL but throughout the United States, and while Sports Illustrated still describes it as a ''fringe sport'', the fact that teams in the South can now dress local players is a huge step in the right direction.

One such player is the Kings' Alec Martinez, who spent his early years playing his minor hockey in Northern California, so when the Kings made him the 95th pick of the 2007 draft after playing for the Miami University RedHawks, he became a local prospect. Having been born in Michigan, the Detroit Red Wings could also have made him a hometown hero, though they've been quite successful drafting Swedes that I understand why they would have passed him over.

Still, Martinez is now a regular on the Kings with a Stanley Cup under his belt and, at age 26, is about to enter the prime of his career. His first career goal was scored against the Montréal Canadiens' Carey Price at the Bell Centre in 2010.

I got this card of his - featuring a black, event-worn (photo shoot) swatch - in a pack of Upper Deck's 2009-10 Series 2 (it's card #RM-AM of the Rookie Materials sub-set):

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