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Top 40 Countdown: No. 15

The Chicago Wolves have won four league championships, but only one man played for the 1998 Turner Cup champs AND the 2008 Calder Cup champs. Who is he? Well, he’s No. 15 on our Chicago Wolves Top 40 Countdown, presented by Jewel-Osco.

Harvard graduate Steve Martins joined the Wolves in 1997 after splitting two seasons between the AHL’s Springfield Falcons and the NHL’s Hartford Whalers. While not the tallest player on the roster — he was listed at 5-foot-9 — he was too strong to be knocked off the puck and he knew exactly what to do with the puck on his stick.

During his first season with the Wolves, Martins shared third place on the team in scoring with 61 points as he produced 20 goals and handed out 41 assists during the regular season. And when the playoffs arrived, only postseason MVP Alexander Semak contributed more points as the Gatineau, Quebec, native notched 6 goals and 14 assists in 21 Turner Cup games. That included the game-winning goals in Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Finals against Long Beach.

After helping the Wolves hoist their first Cup, Martins returned to the NHL for most of the next three seasons. But he came back to the Wolves at the end of the 2000-01 season to boost the team’s run to the 2001 Turner Cup Finals — posting 1 goal and 6 assists in 16 postseason games.

Once again, Martins headed back to the NHL for most of the next three seasons. He didn’t rejoin the Wolves until 2006, when he came back to stay for his final three years of his 14-year professional career. At the age of 35, he ranked fifth in points on the loaded 2007-08 squad with 17 goals and 40 assists in 76 games. During the playoffs, Martins posted 2 goals and 7 assists in 22 games as the Wolves claimed their fourth league crown.

Martins retired after the 2008-09 season with 863 regular-season games and 87 postseason contests on his resume. For the Wolves, Martins ranks ninth on the franchise’s all-time regular-season lists for points (193) and assists (129) in 262 games. On the team’s postseason lists, he stands sixth all-time in games (59) and assists (27) and seventh in points (36).

Want to enjoy more of the countdown?

No. 40: Gage Quinney
No. 39: Tim Breslin
No. 38: Nathan Oystrick
No. 37: Ben Simon
No. 36: Curtis McKenzie
No. 35: Kamil Piros
No. 34: Mark Mancari
No. 33: Simon Gamache
No. 32: Guy Larose
No. 31: Wade Megan
No. 30: Shane Harper
No. 29: Michael Davies
No. 28: Karl Stewart
No. 27: Cory Larose
No. 26: Pat Cannone
No. 25: Brian Wiseman
No. 24: Colin Stuart
No. 23: Brian Noonan
No. 22: Tim Bergland
No. 21: Joey Crabb
No. 20: Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman
No. 19: Dan Currie
No. 18: Dan Plante
No. 17: Bob Nardella
No. 16: Brandon Pirri