As a Canadian, I love hockey. And as any hockey loving Canadian outside of Toronto, I’ve spent a lot of good years enjoying the Maple Leafs continual failures – both on the ice, and in grammar. I mean, Maple Leafs? Come on.
But when I turned on the TV to watch their home opener for their recently completed season, I didn’t know what to expect. They’d added some really good young players. They have a solid coach. I was prepared to be wowed. And I was – before the game even started.
See, one of the new team members added for the 2016-17 doesn’t play hockey. She sings. And as the Maple Leafs first full-time anthem singer, fifteen year-old Martina Ortiz Luis spent the season putting butts in seats well before puck-drop.
With her range and consistency, she turned what can sometimes be the last call to hit the bathroom or grab a refill into a show in itself. So, her talent and age have garnered more than one headline since the start of the NHL season – but this is hardly the first time Martina has stepped into the spotlight.
YouTube views of her anthem singing are currently pushing three-thousand, and hey, that’s not shabby. But YouTube views of her competing on the Philippines version of The Voice are nearing a million after her participation on the show in 2015.
So, let’s take stock. At fifteen, Martina’s talent has already made national headlines in two separate nations. And she’s not done yet.
As an ambassador for World Vision, Martina acts as a spokesperson to help children around the world, promoting child sponsorship and anti-child labour endeavours. While she may not make national headlines for this charity work, she did beat out tens of thousands of other students in her school district for the Father Andrew Cuschieri Humanitarian Award as a result of her work with World Vision.
In addition to her school work and anthem gig with the Maple Leafs, Martina’s official website teases that she’s been working on original material with none other than Rob Wells – who has produced for Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, among other household names – with the intention to release original songs in 2017.
So I’ll just be over here until that happens. Waiting for the Leafs return next season, butt firmly planted on the couch in time for a teen to blow my mind with the anthems.