Select’s Martinez earns prestigious Liz Turgeon Award
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Lexi Martinez said she has had a love for hockey ever since she set foot on the ice as a toddler many years ago.
Now in her fifth season playing for the esteemed Colorado Select organization, that passion has translated into the 19U AAA forward being named the 2015 recipient of the Elizabeth “Liz” Turgeon Award. Martinez, who received a plaque and a $1500 award that can be applied to her team fees, has chosen to wear the No. 87 jersey this season in honor of the late Turgeon, a former Select player that tragically passed away after a car accident back in 2010 at the age of 18.
“To win this award means the world to me,” said Martinez, who was presented the award by Elisabeth and Pierre Turgeon and Select director of hockey Kendall Hanley. “It is such an honor to carry some of the same qualities that Liz Turgeon had. Some of these qualities are outstanding positive attitude, sportsmanship, compassion for teammates, hard work ethic, competitive nature and ultimately, bringing the best out of your team.”
Martinez added that she knows the story of Liz Turgeon all too well.
“Liz seemed to be everyone’s best friend,” Martinez said. “She was an outstanding leader on and off the ice and was always there to lift her teammates up. I will use this award to motivate myself and keep using these qualities to make myself and my team better.”
Playing for the Select program has been a boon for Martinez and her overall skill development. She began her hockey career with the Hyland Hills Jaguars before joining the Select in 2011 for her first season of Bantams.
“I started skating at the age of three and I started playing competitive hockey when I was five,” Martinez said. “The first time my dad took me skating, I got on the ice and didn’t ever want to come off. I always want to be the best I can be at the things I love and hockey has allowed me to test myself and push myself to the max.”
The Select coaching staff not only teaches the game of hockey off the life, but life lessons off the ice, according to Martinez, who credits 19U AAA coach Taylor Gross (who also nominated her for the Turgeon Award) as a positive influence, in addition to Pierre Turgeon, who has helped coach Select teams in the past.
“This program has an amazing coaching staff that pushes players to be the best hockey players and people in general that they can be,” Martinez said. “The program that the Colorado Select has put together has showed me how to grow both as a hockey player and person. It has taught me to be better every time I touch the ice. Taylor pushed me to be the best and helped me develop as a person and player.
“Pierre is another coach that stands out because he only accepted only the best out of all of us and really helped us feel like a real family.”
Martinez also mentioned her father, Eli Martinez, as being her rock throughout her entire life.
“My dad has always been there to support me whether it be in hockey, school, or life in general,” said Martinez. “He is at every practice, game and event that there is to support myself and my team.”
Looking ahead to the rest of the 2015-16 season, Martinez said she wants to keep developing and giving the 19U team all she has to give on and off the ice.
“My long-term hockey goal is to play college hockey and some day play in the NWHL,” explained Martinez. “I want to get into sports medicine and later pursue a career as a sports medicine doctor. My advice for girls who want to excel in the game is to love it every step of the way and play with your heart every time you touch the ice.”
— Matt Mackinder