Give Ryan Martel an opportunity, and chances are, he will capitalize.
“When he sees an opportunity, one-on-one with the goalie, most of the time, he is going to score,” explained Langley Thunder general manager Rob Buchan.
“He just has really good finishing skills.”
And given a chance with the Langley Junior A Thunder this past season, the 19-year-old made the most of his opportunity.
In 20 games for the Thunder, Martel had 43 goals and 54 assists for 97 points, finishing second in both goals and points and third in assists among all BC Junior A Lacrosse League players.
Those numbers were tops among all rookies.
And on Sunday (July 30), Martel was named the BCJALL rookie of the year, and a first team all-star.
“It was my goal, so I was pretty happy to get the award,” he admitted.
The confidence stemmed from the fact Langley boasted some strong returning offensive options.
“With the offensive power we had, I set that goal (rookie of the year) early, knowing how much talent that we had and that my teammates could help me get there.”
Piling up the points is no surprise for Martel and he doesn’t pretend to be a two-way player.
“If you ask anyone I have played with, they will tell you I am not a defenceman for sure,” he said.
Racking up points has been the norm for Martel since his second year of bantam with the Langley Minor Lacrosse Association.
“(Ryan) has a real high offensive IQ. He sees the floor well and he has really good finish,” Buchan said.
While not the biggest player on the floor — Martel is five-foot-10 and 185 pounds — Buchan said that hasn’t stopped him from succeeding at whichever level he is at.
“He is not the biggest in stature but he makes up for it with IQ and skill,” he explained. “You can tell he is thinking when he is out there — he sees the game and is able to slow it down a little bit.”
Martel also played seven games as a call-up for the senior A Thunder, registering five goals and seven points. That included a hat trick in the Thunder’s 10-9 win over Coquitlam last week (July 26).
“I am not surprised he was able to score goals,” Buchan said. “He has really good finish and can score on any goaltender given the opportunity, just because he is that accurate.”
“Definitely stronger, faster defencemen,” Martel said about playing against men in their 20s and 30s.
“It is a quick game and a big step up, but I like it.”
The end goal — besides team success with the Thunder — is to one day play in the National Lacrosse League.
Martel is weighing his options and could enter the NLL draft next month, or wait a year and declare for the 2018 draft.