It's a second homecoming for Lyndon Martell and the Prince George Spruce Kings.
The 19 year old spent the last year and a half with the Regina Pats of the WHL but decided to return to the BCHL for a second time.
"I thought it over and I played here before," said Martell. "I kind of don't want to comment on it too much, it was just a decision I decided to make. It's kind of personal. I just decided to do what I thought was best for me."
Martell played 44 games for the Spruce Kings as a 16 year old collecting 13 goals and 18 assists. His play attracted attention from the WHL's Kamloops Blazers who listed him after the 2009-10 season. Martell played eight games for the Blazers at the start of the 2010-11 season before being reassigned to the Kings on Nov. 8, 2010. When the Blazers sent Martell back to the BCHL it was stated in their press release that he wasn't getting the playing time in Kamloops he needed to develop. In his last days with the Blazers, Martell only suited up for one of eight games the team played.
He played in Prince George until after the Blazers traded the 17-year-old Martell to the Pats in mid-December 2010 along with 20-year-old winger Shayne Neigum and a third-round bantam draft pick in exchange for 20-year-old forward Thomas Frazee. Martell didn't join the Pats until January. In 17 games with the Kings he produced five goals and 14 points.
During his one-and-a-half seasons in Regina, Martell played in 82 games amassing 12 goals. He suited up in two Pats' playoff games last season during their first-round series against the Moose Jaw Warriors, which the Warriors won 4-2.
Martell said he's excited about playing with the Spruce Kings again.
"I'm a lot older and have been around a while so I kind of know the ropes a bit I guess," said Martell. "When I was 16 I wasn't quite as developed strength wise. Now I'm a bigger guy and I know how the league works."
Spruce Kings head coach Dave Dupas said he expects Martell to provide a good portion of the offence for the team this season.
"Lyndon is a guy that's going to score a lot of goals for us here," said Dupas. "He also plays well defensively. He's a very smart player. He moves pucks to good areas. He gets pucks out of the zone when we need to get out and he wins most of his battles on the wall."
Dupas was hired by the Spruce Kings midway through the 2010-11 season so he had the opportunity to coach Martell for five or six games before the forward joined the Pats.
He said it's obvious by watching Martell in training camp how he has become a more complete player after his time in the WHL.
"He was a one-way guy, you gave him the puck down low and he was going to score but he plays a complete game now," said Dupas. "He's safe all over the ice. I don't mind putting him out there in any situation, killing penalties, power play, he can do most of that stuff. He learned it in the Western Hockey League and he's going to bring it here to us."
During two exhibition games against the Trail Smoke Eaters Martell played on a line with Cam Lawson and Coltyn Hanson - players acquired a month ago in a trade with the Victoria Grizzlies. All three players sat out of the final preseason game Saturday nursing minor injuries - Martell had a sore calf muscle - but was in the lineup Saturday at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack where the Kings opened the regular season against the Merritt Centennials with a 4-1 win. Martell had a goal and an assist playing on the Kings' top line with Lawson and Hanson.