Norfolk Admirals’ unsung hero.

By Corine Gatti

Norfolks’Unsung Hero Marty Wilford

“He has been a great surprise this season. His +13 shows he can play well on offense and defense,” said reporter David Winkelsas, of ChicagoBlackhawks.com. So, has there been an unsung hero tucked beneath the wings of the blue and gold? Number 6 may not possess the title or popularity of an Aaron Downey. He doesn’t have the lightning speed of Steve McCarthy, Geoff Peters. But when it comes to tackling defense Marty Wilford has taken the quarterback plunge. What kind of numbers has the Alternate Captain put up thus far in his first season in the AHL? The left shooter in 48 game played, has 5 goals 28 assist and has a dressing of 32 points. The Cobourg, Ontario native has cashed in ten points in his last eight games (two goals, eight assists). He has set a team record with six consecutive game assists. In addition, on December 17, against the Philadelphia Phantoms, and he became the first Admiral record 3 assists in one game. Also, he tore the ice up in the junior league. He accumulated 19 goals 43 assists in his last year with Oshawa, in 1997. “Wilford personifies the typical defenseman. His aggressiveness, no-nonsense, go for broke attitude has inspired his teammates to play through adversity in light of recent call ups including blue line mates Steve Poapst and Steve McCarthy,” said Channel 13, (ABC) Pete Potchowski.

Here’s a brief history on Chicago’s 1995 sixth round (149th overall) draft pick. 1997-98, he enrolled to play 46 games in the ECHL (Columbus) G-8, A-27, PTS-35. Next stop? Indianapolis (IHL) for two seasons and he added 13 goals and 17 assists to his chronicle.

1999-00, he became a brief member of Cleveland Lumberjacks 7-GP, G-0, A-3, PTS-3. Later that season, the defender moved to a warmer climate and joined the Houston Aeros and the heat was on. In 45-GP games he posted 0-G, 9-A assist with 9PTS. “ I never met a guy like Marty. He’s the type of guy that a team loves to have on the ice, in the dressing rooms; he is great to the young guys and to everyone. His skills and leadership speak for themselves,” Center Ajay Baines.

Hockey’s Future was able to catch Marty off ice. He revealed to us his thoughts on his record breaking consecutive assists streak, the 1995 draft, and his response of being considered the Admirals’ unsung hero. Now, here’s a word from the man himself!


CG:
When did you realize that you were on the road to a successful career in hockey?


MW:
I knew when I was in my last year (1996-97) in Oshawa (Junior League). We had a solid team that year and in January I started to put some solid numbers on the board. (62-GP, 19-G, 43-A, 62-PTS)


CG:
Did you anticipate that you would be selected in the 6th round of the Chicago draft?


MW:
I had a pretty good first year (Oshawa), but I didn’t have a lot of points (7-PTS, 1994-95). But I was a steady defenceman and I earned to be that sixth pick. It worked out.


CG:
A reporter from Daily Press (Hampton, Virginia) stated that you maybe the unsung hero of the Norfolk Admirals. What is your response to this statement?


MW:
(Surprised) Why is that?


CG:
You have put good numbers up this season. In addition, you don’t get the recognition nor have the popularity of an Aaron Downey for you’re playing ability.


MW:
You need a little bit of everyone to make good team. You try to fit in and have a good time. You work as hard as the other twenty-four guys in the room and try to be as successful as you can.


CG:
You have set a team record in consecutive assists (6 games). How do you feel about this accomplishment?


MW:
Personally I am not here for myself. It helps contract wise. As long as the team wins that’s all that matters.


CG:
What was the pivot point for you this season?


MW:
Confidence. This is my first time in this league. I started to roll when I played with (Defense) Chris McAlpine (presently with Chicago) it really helped my confidence and that was the turning point for me this season.