The Minnesota Whitecaps have brought back a sixth member of their 2018-19 Isobel Cup-winning squad. The more returners that they can bring back into the fold, the better and better they look to defend their title in 2019-20. In fact, they are starting to gain notice as an early favorite because of their signings and re-signings.
Word was released on the afternoon of Jun. 26 that 28-year-old defender Lisa Martinson had re-upped with the team. She is one of the longer-termed Whitecaps players who had been with the team prior to their inception into the NWHL. A native of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Martinson is known and respected for her steadiness on the back end.
“We’re very happy to have Lisa Martinson back for another season,” said Whitecaps co-head coach Jack Brodt in the press release for the signing. “She is a steady defender on our blue line. We are sure Lisa will add to the Whitecaps’ run for a second Isobel Cup.”
Martinson is the second defender that Minnesota has signed for the 2019-20 season so far.
An Ability to Play Rugged Hockey
Martinson’s hockey history in Minnesota not only includes her youth and high school years, but all four seasons that she played for St. Cloud State University. From the 2009-10 NCAA season through 2012-13, she played 126 games for the Huskies.
Martinson is not overly large for a defender at 5-foot-5, but she is sturdy at near the 155-pound mark. Furthermore, she can play a more robust defensive style that goes beyond her frame. In those same 126 games, Martinson ended her career with 138 penalty minutes.
Never particularly a scorer, she compiled a modest six goals and 10 assists for 16 points in her four seasons of play. It was more Martinson’s physicality and determination that came to the forefront in college, and on into today. She blocked 27 shots in 33 games during her senior season. Additionally, Martinson earned the Huskies’ Most Improve Played Award following her freshman campaign of 30 games.
“Lisa brings a sense of composure to the ice,” said Whitecaps co-head coach Ronda Engelhardt. “She keeps it simple and makes the right plays.”
A Lunch Pail Style Approach
Echoing the sentiments of both co-head coaches, it is clear that Martinson is a “lunch pail” style of player. There is nothing fancy to her job or flashy. But you want her in your corner for sure as she shows up to get the job done earnestly and be dependable no matter the opposition.
“It’s an honor to be part of such a dedicated and talented group of players,” Martinson said about her signing. “Being a Whitecap and having the platform to help grow women’s hockey in my home state in the NWHL is a really exciting opportunity.”
Martinson played in four regular season games for the Whitecaps this past season, with Minnesota winning all four contests. She picked up an assist on an Allie Thunstrom shorthanded goal during a 9-0 drubbing of the Connecticut Whale on Jan. 20, 2019. Martinson had two shots on goal of her own during the victory.
Come the Whitecaps’ run to the Isobel Cup, she played a lone postseason game in the semi-final against the Metropolitan Riveters. Winning the game 5-1, Martinson helped ensure that the Whitecaps made it onto the Cup Final against the Buffalo Beauts which they ultimately won in overtime.
“The support we received from Minnesota fans was amazing,” Martinson went on to say. “Being able to play in front of a packed house at TRIA Rink made this past season unforgettable. I plan to continue pushing myself and my teammates to elevate our game so we can battle to bring the Isobel Cup back home to Minnesota.”
Here is a look at how the Whitecap’s roster is currently shaping out as of Jun. 26:
Goaltender: Amanda Leveille
Defense: Amanda Boulier, Lisa Martinson
Forward: Allie Thunstrom, Jonna Curtis, Nicole Schammel, Brooke White-Lancette.
Beginning May 15, NWHL teams can re-sign players from their 2018-19 roster and their draft picks. Additionally, for those players who have completed their college eligibility and want to continue their hockey careers, NWHL Free Agency provides the best opportunity to continue playing at the highest level of professional women’s hockey. The fifth season of the NWHL will begin in October as the Minnesota Whitecaps look to defend their Isobel Cup championship.
My colleague Dan Rice will keep THW readers up-to-date on Metropolitan and Connecticut’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Buffalo and Boston. Together we will be keeping readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.