When Dan Marr was hired back in October by the NHL, he knew he had big shoes to fill. The hockey world had grown fond of his predecessor, the innovative E.J. McGuire, who passed away in April. McGuire held the post with Central Scouting for six years.
Marr most recently spent ten seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers, the last seven as the director of amateur scouting and player development following a 12-year stint as a scout with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Yet, in talking with Marr, it becomes obvious that he really enjoyed his experiences many years ago as a trainer. Hockey players at all levels will often admit that the training staff can become important confidants during their developmental years.
The soft-spoken native of Dunhill, Ontario has been busy with preparations and activities associated with the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Kelowna. Central Scouting recently announced its mid-season rankings, and has since then spent a significant amount of time working with NHL teams and the CHL to put together the rosters for both Team Cherry and Team Orr.
An enormous challenge for event organizers this year is the reality that there is room for only 12 defensemen, yet this season presents a veritable bumper crop of rearguards from all three junior leagues for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. And, due to an unusual number of injuries among draft eligible juniors this season, organizers have scrambled of late to fill the roster vacancies.
Marr has been at the forefront in this effort and admits he has a tremendous amount of admiration for the players who arrived in Kelowna after receiving very short notice. Marr grinned with a hint of excitement when he spoke to the effort made by Dane Fox of the Erie Otters to travel to Kelowna as one of those replacements.
Marr is obviously a man who enjoys the game, the business and his current role in the NHL. HF spoke with Marr at Prospera Place in Kelowna as Team Cherry was put through a light skate and practice session.