Coach Joe Martin jumps from Merritt Centennials to Alberni Valley Bulldogs

Former Merritt Centennials bench boss Joe Martin has signed a multi-year agreement to become the new head coach and general manager of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, the B.C. Hockey League club announced Monday.

Martin guided the Centennials to a 36-15-7 record this season, good for second place in the Interior Division. Martin compiled an overall record of 106-97-24 in four seasons as the Centennials’ head coach and GM.

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Martin spent eight seasons with Merritt, joining the Centennials as assistant coach and assistant GM for the 2011-12 season before taking over as head coach in 2015.

Martin has also served as the assistant coach the past two years for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge.

Martin said he is excited for the challenge in Port Alberni: “Every time I’ve coached in the Weyerhaeuser Arena, I’ve always been impressed with the hometown presence. It’s a loud building with fantastic ice — arguably the best in the BCHL. I look forward to bringing an entertaining brand of hockey to the Alberni Valley and continuing to help young athletes improve.”

Martin replaces Matt Hughes, who resigned last month after two seasons as head coach and GM of the Bulldogs.

Bulldogs president David Michaud described the hiring of Martin as a “major win for our program.”

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