Since watching him play in high school, Minot State club hockey coach Wade Regier has had his eye on Morgen Martelle, hoping he'd one day choose to play for him at MSU.
The two had several conversations during the summer and on Tuesday, when Martelle bumped into Regier at Maysa Arena, the former Minot High product informed him of his decision to play for the Beavers this season. On Wednesday, Martelle officially became MSU's latest signee.
"He brings a work ethic and a youthful motivation," Regier said. "He's excited to be playing in his hometown and he's one of those kids who's a defenseman, but he's very offensive. He likes to jump into the rush and he brings a different dynamic to our big boys we normally have back there."
Former Minot High product Morgan Martelle signed with Minot State on Wednesday. Martelle, a two-time all-state selection with the Magicians, played in the North American 3 Hockey League last season.
Martelle may be a defenseman, but he isn't afraid to factor into the offense. In his final three seasons with the Magicians, Martelle finished in the top six in team scoring each year. He recorded 10 goals and 21 assists in his final season.
In his high school career, Martelle tallied 70 points on 22 goals and 48 assists. He was an all-state selection both of his final two seasons.
"You always have to look defense first," Martelle said. "I like to play from my net out and jump into the rush when it's there. I don't take too many chances, but if there's room for me to jump in I'll jump into the rush and factor in offensively. A good first pass is what I like to concentrate on the most. A good first pass out of the zone, giving the puck to the forwards on their tape so they can do something with it and put the puck in the net."
MSU's eight defensemen combined for 23 goals and 56 assists, led by junior Mitch Peeke (8 goals, 10 assists) and sophomore Bob Pond (6 g, 12 a).
Following his high school career, Martelle went from one Magicians team to another, albeit briefly. He was drafted 118th overall by the Minnesota Magicians of the North American Hockey League in 2013, but didn't make the final roster. Despite being released, Martelle kept his head up.
"It was definitely a different style," Martelle said. "Once I got released, I was obviously bummed out about it, but I just took it as 'I need to get better.' I went to Granite City to play better and contribute and I feel like I did that. It was difficult right away not being able to make the full roster for the Magicians, but you just have to push through and play hockey."
Martelle spent last season with the Granite City (Minn.) Lumberjacks of the NA3HL, where he recorded four goals and 24 assists in 44 games, consistently cracking the lineup. A year playing juniors worked out well for both Martelle and the Beavers.
"That's actually a good thing," Regier said. "We almost always recommend all of our players that they go play a year of junior hockey or go play a year at (Dakota College at) Bottineau or Williston to mature and develop a little bit."
Martelle said he took that year with Granite City to grow as a person and a player. He had the opportunity to return to the Lumberjacks for another season, but decided it was time to begin college. Martelle said he's pursuing a degree in the medical field.
The Beavers graduated just one defenseman, meaning Martelle's playing time could be limited during his freshman season.
"Time will certainly tell," Regier said. "We have some holes to fill and he is most likely going to be the youngest player on our team. He feels like he's game ready. My assistant coaches believe he has a good chance to compete right away. He has all the tools, he has the skills and the mindset and all the right things. It's just going to be about adapting to the college game. He will be given every opportunity. We certainly will be putting him in a position to see how he handles himself and then kind of take it day by day."
For Martelle, just playing in his hometown once again is exciting.
"It'll be nice," Martelle said. "I'll get to play in front of my family. They won't have to travel as much. It's nice to be back in the Magic City playing in front of family and friends."
Mike Kraft covers Minot High athletics and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.