Marr: "I'm in the right place"
Genting Casino Coventry Blaze netminder Renny Marr says he is “in the right place at a club that puts great effort into developing young players.”
The young Scottish goalie moved to Coventry on the back of a season where he lifted the SNL Championship with the Kirkcaldy Kestrels posting a 1.88 goals-against-average (GAA) and an impressive 92.4% save-percentage (SVS%) along the way. He also provided back-up for his home town's Elite League side, the Fife Flyers. In addition, Marr was part of a Great Britain under 18's squad that won a bronze medal at the World Junior Championships (Division 2A) playing two games with a 2.02 GAA and a 92.0 SVS%. Impressive numbers for a player who because of his age wasn't allowed in to title sponsor Genting Casino when he first arrived.
Returning to Coventry for a second season in August, Marr will again re-unite in a goaltending tandem with Blaze’s Player of the Season last term, 6'5" Canadian Brian Stewart who the understudy says he has learnt a great deal from.
“Working with Stewy is great, he is a fantastic goalie and even watching him during practice helps me to learn. One of the things I quickly realised about Brian was how hard he worked in practice. He competes for every puck during drills and that makes me want to be more competitive too.”
Aside from his partner in net, Marr who is also a relatively big goalie standing at 6'1" says he also looks to take inspiration and advice from a number of other Blaze teammates, including Canadian defenceman Josh Godfrey who he sits next to in the dressing room:
"Josh has great experience playing professionally so whenever a guy like him offers advice, you listen to it and take it on board. Guys like Russ (Cowley) and Ash (Tait) have played in the league for a long time and have great knowledge too. Everyone looks up to players like them."
When given opportunity last season, Marr who played over 250 minutes made a positive impression between the pipes, most notably in his home town rink vs. Fife Flyers and at the Skydome Arena vs. Manchester Storm where he picked up the win and Man of the Match award. He also played over 30 minutes during Blaze's Continental Cup campaign in Tychy, Poland with a 92.86% save-percentage.
"Playing in Fife particularly was a great moment," said the Lochgelly born. "I didn’t know what to expect from the crowd but it seemed pretty positive. It was quite unexpected as Stewy picked up an injury but you have to always be ready. I really try to stay focused on the puck whilst on the bench. I also track the shots for both teams so that too keeps my head in the game if I am called upon."
From SNL to EIHL, it's been a steep learning curve for Marr but it's a challenge he says he is enjoying and committed to:
“I learned that there is a big jump from SNL to EIHL quite quickly. The skill level is much higher, as well as the intensity and pace of the game. It is difficult to adjust to but training with guys who play at that level makes it that much easier.”
It was a debut season in the Elite League that ended in complete contrast to the Championship year previous in the SNL for Renny, as Blaze felt defeat in the playoff final to the Nottingham Panthers. It was an experience though that Marr says he can take something from.
"In 2014/15 with Kirkcaldy Kestrels, the playoff final was an incredible feeling to win. It was my first real feeling of successfully winning a trophy that meant something. So to be in that position again at an even higher level was something that I could never have dreamed of. It was just disappointing that the result didn't go our way. From the beginning of the game vs. Nottingham it just looked to be a nail biter. The feeling on the ice and in the dressing room after the game was gutting, everyone was so upset but that will drive us next season."
When he arrives back at the Skydome Arena ahead of Blaze's first pre-season game against the Nottingham Panthers on Wednesday 24th August (7.30pm face-off), Marr will renew alliances with new Head Coach Danny Stewart after the two previously worked together at the Fife Flyers, something which he believes will be of benefit.
"To have a coach that you have worked with before does help as you know some of their expectations. Having spoken to Danny during the off-season I am looking forward to getting back on the ice and work under him."
Despite being 350 miles from his home town, Renny concludes by saying he is enjoying life in the Midlands and had no doubts about signing up for a second season.
"Playing for the Blaze organisation was an easy decision to make as they are very professional in how they are run. The players and staff treated me brilliantly from the day I arrived. For me, my main goal next season is to get better every day and when given the opportunity to get a few wins under my belt and hopefully help us win silverware."
Interview by: Ed Kimberley @EdKimberley