Marty Standish Announces Retirement
TULSA, OK – Marty Standish is walking away from the game of hockey exactly how he envisioned.
On his own terms.
After 13 seasons of minor pro hockey, 672 career points, and more than 800 games, Standish announced his retirement earlier this week. Although the scrappy Oilers center had signed on for another year in Tulsa, a job opportunity with a construction company in Oklahoma City turned out to be too good to pass up.
“I don’t know if there ever really is a right time to walk away but I really want to be around my family more and I made this decision for them,” said Standish, whose wife is pregnant with the couple’s second child. “Now is as good a time as any, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. I know once the season gets going, I’m really going to miss being around the guys, I’m going to miss the Oilers staff, and I’ll especially miss all the fans who treated me so well.”
Standish has played alongside hundreds of teammates, but none mean more to him than current Oilers Tyler Fleck, Gordon Bell, Michel Beausoleil, and Gio Flamminio. All played with Standish in Oklahoma City and each one received a call from Standish informing them of his decision.
“My initial reaction was, ‘are you serious?’” said Fleck. “He talked about it last year but I didn’t really see this coming. I’m happy for him to have this new opportunity but it’s sad at the same time. I played with him more than any other player in my career, and he’s like a brother to me.”
“He was a leader on every team he played for and a great guy to have in the locker room,” Bell said. “Not many guys worked as hard as Marty did and I’m just glad he was able to go out while he was still playing at a high level. It was a pleasure to play with him and it’s a pleasure to call him my friend.”
Standish played his first professional game and scored his first professional goal in 1999 as a member of the Missouri River Otters of the UHL. The native of Kelvington, Saskatchewan, first set foot in the Sooner State when he became an Oklahoma City Blazer prior to the 2000-01 season. Standish quickly won the hearts of Blazers fans as he finished second on the squad with 87 points, racked up 161 penalty minutes, and led Oklahoma City to the CHL title.
“Winning that championship with the Blazers was definitely my best moment as a pro,” Standish recalled. “Of course back then I was young and stupid and I thought I would win it every year.”
Standish spent six more seasons with the Blazers and left Oklahoma City in 2008 as the second all-time leading goal scorer in franchise history. Following a stint with the Bloomington Prairie Thunder, Standish returned to the CHL and to Oklahoma when he became a Tulsa Oiler in 2009. Once despised by Tulsa fans during his days in Oklahoma City, the Oilers faithful quickly warmed to Standish and he was named “Oilers Fan Favorite” in each of the last two seasons.
“There was a day when Marty played for the Blazers that I would have cherished his retirement, but that certainly isn’t the case today,” chuckled Jeff Lund, Oilers owner and team president. “To become our fans favorite player after being such a nemesis to the Oilers all those years is a true testament to the kind of character Marty possesses. He will always remain a fan favorite and a favorite of mine as well.”
“It’s been a wonderful experience playing in Oklahoma City and Tulsa because the fans are so loyal,” Standish said. “The thing about Oklahomans is they’re good, hard-working people and they respect players like that. When they see that kind of attitude in a player, it makes them appreciate you that much more.”
In his final season in Tulsa, at the age of 33, Standish recorded six goals and tied for third on the team with 30 assists. He was the unquestioned anchor of the Oilers penalty killing unit and never hesitated to block a shot, win a puck battle in the corner, or mix it up with a bigger opponent.
“Marty gave me absolutely everything he had every single night,” said Oilers Head Coach, Bruce Ramsay. “He never backed down from anyone and he was a fantastic leader for this hockey club. In my mind, he became one of the best penalty killers in the game and he’s going to be missed by our fans and our entire organization.”
What he lacked in stature, the 5-foot-6 Standish more than made up for in heart, hustle, and durability. From his first game of junior hockey with the Portland Winterhawks to his final tilt with the Oilers, Standish never suffered a severe injury and played in at least 50 games in every single season of his career.
“I think he was one of the best players in all of minor pro hockey,” said Fleck. “For a guy who’s 5’6” to have lasted as long as he did is inspiring and I think he pulled it off because he has such a huge heart. He wasn’t your typical little guy that’s for sure. I’m really going to miss watching him go flying into the corners and battling huge defensemen.”
“I’m really happy with the way my career turned out,” Standish said. “I had some good playoff runs, I had some productive years, and a few individual milestones that are very special to me. If you had told me 13 years ago that I would do everything I’ve done in the game of hockey, I’d have said you were crazy. I’m thrilled with the way it ended up; I have no regrets at all.”
Standish may be leaving hockey, but the determination that helped him score 12 points in his final 10 games isn’t leaving him.
The next chapter in life has to start sometime, and for Marty Standish, that time is now.
The Tulsa Oilers would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Marty Standish on an outstanding career in professional hockey. Thank you Marty for your hard work, your commitment to this franchise, and for all you’ve done to grow the sport of hockey in the state of Oklahoma. We will miss your passion and your personality both on and off the ice. We wish you nothing but the best as you begin your life after hockey and we are all grateful for the memories you’ve created for this team and for our fans. We love you Marty!