In the first edition of our new ‘Hockey Family’ series, we spoke to Jordan and Renny Marr about their relationship on and off the ice, and those encounters between the Phantoms and the Swindon Wildcats.
At 28-years-old, Jordan is the older of the two goalies. Renny is 22 years of age, meaning the two never played any junior hockey together. Jordan admits the duo were offered contracts by the same team not so long ago but thinks it would’ve harmed the development of them both, with no guarantees of regular action between the pipes.
JM: I think due to the age gap, it’s something that wasn’t really possible throughout youth hockey but a few years ago the same team did try to sign us as a tandem. I think it would have been pretty cool to live together and be teammates but since only one guy can play at time, I think it would have probably harmed both of our progress to be the goalies we are today.
RM: We were always in different age groups growing up, so we’d never really get the chance to be on the same team unfortunately.
With Swindon and Phantoms both battling at the top end of the table for the last few years, a healthy, competitive rivalry has developed between the two teams. The Marr brothers now have the unique scenario of being brothers off the ice, but rivals on it.
Those who have siblings will admit that it’s not always plain sailing and you don’t always get on with one another. But Jordan and Renny have developed a very close bond despite being rivals on the ice and have a very healthy relationship.
JM: I think we are very different from one another, but we also share some characteristics. We had our odd disagreements through the years and despite being rivals now, I’d say he’s one of my best friends.
RM: Being the younger brother, I would always end up crying after we’d been playing hockey or football out in the streets. Although, once Jordan moved away to North America, we got on a lot better.
Whilst Ice Hockey is now the most well supported indoor sport in the country, it is still not widely regarded as one of the ‘big’ sports in the UK. Football still leads the way in that regard, and probably always will, and it is a sport that Jordan and Renny both follow alongside hockey. Football is another aspect of their lives which bring them together, sharing their love for Scottish Premier League side, Hearts. But the pair quickly realised that ice hockey was the sport they really loved, and neither have looked back since.
JM: I got into roller hockey at about eight years old, so from two years old, Renny was dragged from rink to rink with me. So, he never really had a choice. I played a bit of football but was never any good, Renny played too through high school ages and was a way more skilled player than me!
RM: For me growing up, I always played ice hockey, roller hockey and football. But then eventually I had to stop roller hockey and football since ice hockey was taking up most of the weeknights and weekends!
Jordan and Renny Marr both began their ice hockey days as skaters but moved to the position between the sticks shortly after. In taking up this position, there could be an argument to suggest that they were always more likely to play against each other than on the same team, and that is exactly how things have turned out.
Ice Hockey is undoubtedly a huge part of both of their lives, but family will always come first and the two goalies have found the balance between healthy competition and rivalry, ensuring what happens on the ice will never affect the good relationship shared by the Marr brothers.
JM: I had a few months as a player but couldn’t skate, so I thought being in goal would be easier. With Renny, my parents made sure he was a bit better prepared to play goal, so they said he had to practice as a player too until he was six or seven. With us now being on opposing teams, it makes it a bit more difficult. When we play each other we both want to win and help our teams. I try not to compare the both of us because we’re both different goalies in different situations.
RM: I started off as a skater initially but started to become a goalie after a year or two of playing. We never really played against each other growing up, but I think now it is a bit of both now that we’re in the same league playing against each other a lot during the season.
To begin with, the ‘Jordan v Renny’ aspect of games between the Phantoms and the Wildcats was a big talking point, but also an aspect which the two goalies considered in the earlier days. But given that it has happened numerous times now, the importance has shifted back to just ensuring they give their respective sides the best possible chance to win, regardless of who the opposition is or if they are facing each other.
JM: As a goalie you want to win no matter who you play against. With Peterborough and Swindon being contenders the last few seasons, the games can have a huge impact for both teams. For the duration of the games we’re just trying to do what gives our team an opportunity to succeed and afterwards we’re brothers who have a great deal of respect for each other.
RM: The first few times we won against Peterborough it felt pretty good to get one up against my older brother, but I think now the novelty has kind of worn away. So, whenever we play each other it’s just as important as every other game.
With Jordan being the elder of the two, he said the following about Renny’s career so far, and what he thinks his brother can achieve in the future:
JM: Renny’s achieved so much already in his career and that makes me so proud of him for sticking it out and persevering through the difficult times. Every challenge he’s had, he’s exceeded expectations and I think if he continues to approach the game in the manner he has, he’ll continue to progress and achieve the goals he sets for himself.
Ice Hockey is a game we all love. It’s a game which brings people: fans, players, coaches, everyone; together. But Jordan and Renny have shared their hockey journeys from the start, the bond they have is a really special one, and they both think sharing the ice with one another just adds to the way they feel about the game we all love.
JM: Hockey has given me so many wonderful opportunities in my life that I’m thankful for. It’s required a lot of sacrifice from my family. In the summers I’m fortunate I get to be on the ice and work on my game alongside Renny and it’s really cool to see how we’ve both grown as people and goalies over the years, especially since I was away for seven years and missed a chunk of his growing up. I think it’s pretty cool that we both get to play the game for a living since it’s all we’ve wanted to do since we first started.
RM: It’s something that I’ve been doing for pretty much my whole life, and I have lots of great memories of playing. Of course, being able to play against your brother makes it pretty special so the games we do play are pretty memorable and special to us.
The ‘hockey family’ is one that many people speak about. Putting the on-ice rivalries aside, we’re all united by the sport we all love.
Our thanks go to Jordan and Renny for taking the time to chat with us and also to the Swindon Wildcats for allowing us to speak to their player.
Photos courtesy of Jordan and Renny.