Mitchell Martan bringing ‘grizzled’ presence, production to Bemidji State as fifth-year transfer
Mitchell Martan seems to fit everything a college hockey coach would look for in a transfer addition. But to really understand why the Bemidji State men’s hockey team desired to bring in a player like Martan, it’s best to start with the man in charge of getting him to come join the Beavers.
BEMIDJI – Mitchell Martan seems to fit everything a college hockey coach would look for in a transfer addition.
Pedigree? Check. Martan, a fifth-year forward, was Canisius’ nominee for the Hobey Baker Award in the 2021-22 season, his fourth year of playing collegiately.
Production? Check. He led the Griffins with 17 assists last season, compiling 22 points in all to finish fourth on the team.
But to really understand why the Bemidji State men’s hockey team desired to bring in a player like Martan, it’s best to start with the man in charge of getting him to come join the Beavers.
“We didn't know a lot about him,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “We watched a lot of tape (on him). He has some skill, but the biggest thing is he's strong. He's strong on the puck. But he just brought experience, and we lost so much (from) last year, we had to bring in some experience. We had to bring in some guys that were grizzled veterans that played a lot of hockey, played a lot of hard minutes.”
Martan, meanwhile, became intrigued by the Beavers after watching them defeat top-seeded Wisconsin in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
“I would say I ultimately decided when (Serratore) called me and just convinced me,” Martan said. “I loved the way the Beavers played. I watched them when they were playing Wisconsin, and it wasn't even a close game. They just dominated. And I knew TS was obviously a historic coach. The culture here is great.”
Since he made the move to Bemidji, Martan’s been pleased with how his hopes for a new hockey home have matched up with reality.
“The acclimation part of things, the team has been awesome,” Martan said. “Guys couldn't have been more welcoming. I’m just finding my way and working hard and keeping my head down.”
It’s going well for him so far. Martan scored twice and assisted on two other goals in Bemidji State’s first victory of the season, a 4-3 overtime triumph over Arizona State on Oct. 8. The effort was highlighted by his winning score less than a minute before time expired in the extra session, which quickly ingratiated Martan with his new fan base.
“It's honestly nice going from culture to culture, seeing how BSU handles things,” Martan said. “I just try to do my same thing I did at Canisius for four years. Obviously switching leagues and stuff is a bit of an adjustment, but like I said, the team has been welcoming. Try to nurse the young guys and show them around and just lead by example.”
Being a grizzled veteran comes with some bumps and bruises, too – after the Beavers’ win over ASU, Martan joked with fellow veterans Ross Armour and Will Zmolek how their collective mileage in the game was taking a toll on their bodies. But Martan has plenty left to give in his final year, and he’s intent on making the most of his last ride on collegiate ice.
After a week off, the Beavers return to action against Michigan Tech on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21-22, in Houghton, Mich, and Martan plans to lean on his time-honored process to prepare for the second series of the season.
“I think just continuing to do the little things,” Martan said of what will bring Bemidji State success moving forward. “Carry the momentum onwards. Not often do you have that first bye week after a week of games. Rest, recover, get the body going and then fine-tune little things – special teams, maybe some systems and just go from there.”