Stanley Cup champion Martinez headlines pro camp at Miami

Alec Martinez has been a busy man since helping the Los Angeles Kings capture their first National Hockey League title in June.

“This place is incredible,” Martinez, a 25-year-old defenseman from Rochester Hills, Mich., said after Monday’s workout. “You try to tell some of the guys that are going here now to really appreciate it. You really realize how awesome this place is when you leave.

“The things that you remember and the things that you cherish are the times spent with the good people that are here,” he added. “We’re working hard, but we’re having fun, too. I’m certainly not going to miss it in the coming few years.”

Twenty former RedHawks are here for the week, training under the guidance of MU coach Enrico Blasi and his staff. Almost all of those players are competing at some level of pro hockey.

“The purpose is to have them back and get them ready for whatever season they’re preparing for,” Blasi said. “I think it’s important to connect the dots between our former players and our current players. It’s just a way to kind of say thanks for everything they’ve done for us.

“I’m a proud dad right now,” he continued. “They’re a little bit older, but they still have some of the same mannerisms and things like that. It’s fun.”

Two of those players, Martinez and Andy Greene, were in the 2012 Stanley Cup finals. Greene, also a defenseman, is a member of the New Jersey Devils, who lost to the Kings in six games.

Martinez said he won’t be giving Greene any grief about the Cup this week. They were Miami teammates for one season.

“I can’t rub that in,” Martinez said. “We’re good buddies. It’s not awkward or anything like that. We didn’t speak at all during the playoffs. The first time we actually spoke was in the handshake line once it was all over.”

Martinez admitted his life has changed since winning the Cup. His only postseason goal came in Game 3 against the Devils.

“It’s pretty special to be able to do something that you dreamed about ever since you were a little kid,” Martinez said. “A lot of people don’t ever get the opportunity to maybe even compete for it, let alone win it. For me to do that just a few years into my career, it’s pretty crazy.”

NHL tradition dictates that the winning players get to spend some time with the Cup. Martinez, who now lives in Dallas, will get a full day with it on Friday, Aug. 31.

“I’m going to take it golfing in the morning, then I’m going to have a pool party at my house,” he said. “I think the coolest part of the whole thing is sharing it with people that you care about. Without sounding too sappy, that’s really what it boils down to.

“I’ve got people coming in from all over,” he added. “I’m almost treating it like a wedding because I’m getting the photographer and this and that. I want it to be pretty well documented because it could be the only time in my life that I have an opportunity like that.”

The Kings’ training camp is a month away, though the current NHL collective bargaining agreement expires Sept. 15. There could be a strike or a lockout.

“I’ll probably head out shortly after my party and go about my routine,” Martinez said. “I’m confident that both sides want to work something out.”

And there is still the matter of an accounting degree for Martinez. He left Miami after his junior season, but promised his parents he would finish school.

“It’ll get done,” Martinez said. “I’m real close. It’s hard going back after you leave, but I’m slowly chipping away at it.”

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