Martin and Dyke Share Key Role for Atlantics Host
Yes folks, there is twine behind St. John’s Hitmen goalies Evan Martin and William Dyke. It’s just hard to see sometimes because of their size. Evan stands at 6’ 0’, while William has hit the 6’ 3” mark on the kitchen door jamb.
This goaltending tandem share a key role for the Hitmen as they prepare to host the 2018 Bantam AAA Atlantics at Jack Byrne Arena in April. Their combined stats are very impressive in Provincial League play and abroad. They hold a 2.12 Goals Against Average (GAA) and a .940 Save Percentage as of February 5th. At the Monctonian, the duo delivered a 1.50 GAA and followed with a sharp 2.00 GAA at the IceJam in Halifax. Dyke also received First Team All-Star recognition at the highly competitive IceJam event.
The guys’ parents recognize that excelling at the elite level in any sport requires a lot of extra training. In that regard, they are quick to acknowledge the boys’ strength and conditioning coach, Greg Hennebury, with whom they train 1-2 times a week in-season and 3-4 times a week off-season. Private goalie coach, the well-respected Marek Benda of Xtreme Hockey, steps in to provide the final piece of the training regimen.
After starting out in Caps Minor Hockey together, Evan and William’s road to this year’s edition of the Hitmen has been quite different, but their paths did cross again along the way. Evan is a returnee to the squad – his third year in the AAA League in fact. William has been honing his skills in the A Division of the Don Johnson Hockey League until this year and the parity that League is known for as prepared William very well. “Every DJHL game the goalies get lots of action and that allows them to improve,” states William. During their first Peewee A season, Evan and William teamed up on the RBC Hawks. That year they claimed both the Joe Lamontagne Tournament crown and the Provincial title. The following season, Evan made the jump to Peewee AAA, and when called upon at warm-up time, delivered a gold medal performance in the Atlantic Championship game.
William also has a connection to Northeast Eagles Minor Hockey, our Atlantics Host Association. That’s because as an Atom goalie, the Caps lent him to the Eagles for the season. It was a pivotal move, allowing William to get the heavy action in the blue zone any young goalie needs.
As for season highlights to date, Evan points to beating the arch rivals, Tri-Com Thunder, in Bishop Falls on his 14th birthday. William immediately mentions the big IceJam game against the highly-rated ACA Rangers as a special moment. Despite the 1-0 loss, he kept it close with over 30 saves.
Athletes are drawn to the intense challenge of AAA hockey for many reasons. Playing a sport you love in an environment that encourages setting personal goals is often a big attraction for players and their parents. “Getting to play between the pipes at the Major Junior level is what I’m striving for in hockey,” claims Evan. William favors a different route, “Currently I am hoping to play NCAA, with hockey and education being a priority. Major Junior may be an option, as well.”
For now the Hitmen Hockey Club are glad to have them around for the Atlantics. "Our staff has 100% confidence in either one of our goalies. We can be more creative offensively knowing we have Evan and William back there," says Head Coach Doug Jackman.
by Tim Power