Jordan Marr has revealed that the chance to play more regular ice hockey was the reason behind his departure from Fife Flyers.
It was announced last week that the 26-year-old netminder had stepped down a level to sign for National League side Peterborough Phantoms, bringing an end to his Fife career in the Elite League after just one season.
Marr made 19 appearances, finishing the campaign with a save percentage .894, a statistic which put him on a par with Belfast Giants regular starter, and GB number two, Jackson Whistle, albeit the Canadian dual-national played more than double the games.
Most of his ice time came during the final month of the season when starting goaltender Andy Iles picked up an injury, and Marr admits he took some time to get his sharpness back before showing his capabilities with a spree of man of the match awards.
Iles returned for the play-offs, but the Lochgelly stopper hoped he might have shown enough to convince Fife that he deserved a chance to be their regular starter in the EIHL next season.
That proved not to be the case, and when Peterborough coach Slava Koulikov came calling for the second summer running, Marr decided his future lay down south.
“Slava spoke to me last summer, but I told him I wanted to give the Elite League a try,” Marr told the Press.
“Not long after the season finished he got back in touch and asked what my plans were.
“I said I still had to speak to Dutes to see what kind of role he would have for me in the upcoming year.
“After meeting with him I decided it would be best for me to move elsewhere.”
Marr, however, will leave Fife bearing no grudges, insisting that it was purely a hockey decision.
“It was tough not playing, but it was a great experience to win Fife’s first silverware in the EIHL era, and to be around my family and people I grew up with was awesome,” he said.
“There’s no hard feelings between me, Dutes and Hutchy. They understood that I had to do what’s best for me, and they’re doing what they feel is best for them by going with an import goalie, I guess.
“That’s hockey, and I’d like to thank all the coaching staff, the fans and everybody involved with Fife Flyers for all their help and support throughout the year. It’s a great group and I wish them all the best.”
Marr believes that, if given the chance, he could have held down a regular starting position in the EIHL, although he accepts that the league is becoming a tougher playground for British goalies.
“No matter how well you do, clubs can always bring in an import who has a better CV than a British goalie,” he said.
“I think it’s unfortunate for the development of British goalies that we don’t really get chances, and that’s probably one of the reasons I’m moving. It’s better to play and develop because sitting on the bench all year is tough, mentally.
“There’s been guys who played GB U18s and U20s in the past and who had a lot of potential, but they waste away on the bench in the EIHL. So I just had to make sure that never happened to me.”
Marr points to the example of Ben Bowns, who like him was playing in the old second-tier EPL before earning a move to Cardiff Devils, where he has excelled as first choice goalie, winning back-to-back EIHL titles while also starring for Team GB’s in their recent promotion to the World Championship top division.
“It just came down to someone giving him an opportunity,” Marr said. “He was one of the top goalies in the EPL and someone gave him the chance.
“Being a professional hockey player you want to play, and it was tough at times.
“I felt there were times when Andy Iles could’ve maybe had a rest. He got injured and you could say playing so many games in a short period of time maybe caused it.
“I’d gone two months without a start and it took me a while to get back into the swing of things. After a few games I felt good and there was around five or six games where I got man of the match.
“That shows I was getting better, improving and reaching form, but it also showed the guys had more confidence in me that I could do a job as a starter in the league.
“I’m 26 going on 27 and I need to make sure that I’m making money and also getting a chance to play hockey.
“I couldn’t take a chance of sitting on the bench for another year and waiting for someone to either get injured or hit bad form.”