By Steve Sanders
© 2006 The Augusta Chronicle
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Martin Lapointe says he did not intend to play professional hockey this season.
After finishing last season in Europe at age 32, Lapointe was about to skate away from the game and check into a life outside the boards as a firefighter.
But when the opportunity to return to the Augusta Lynx arose this past off-season, Lapointe made an easy decision. In Augusta, he knew he would have his chance at fires and ice.
What he didn’t know, however, was that the city would name a day after him for the latter.
The veteran defenseman – also a volunteer with Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue – was honored for breaking the Augusta Lynx team record for all-time games played Saturday, which was officially Martin Lapointe Day in Augusta.
“To me it wasn’t something I necessarily was looking forward to – breaking the record and being a part of history here. But obviously, every record you break, you’re proud of it,” said Lapointe, a Quebec native.
“I just wanted to come back and play, but at my age I was starting to think about my career in firefighting: taking courses and getting experience. Being here allows me to do both.”
Lapointe surpassed John Whitwell’s mark of 280 on Dec. 30 at South Carolina and now is at 287 games and counting.