USHL Spotlight – Todd Marr

By Jason Shaner

If there were an award given out in the USHL for nicest guy, Todd Marr would be a strong candidate. The Waterloo BlackHawks goaltender is without a doubt one of the good guys in the world of hockey. Todd’s modest and kind attitude mixes in well with his maturity that many players in the Junior Hockey circuits do not have.

At 21 years of age he has gone far in the hockey world, starting at a very young age. One of his greatest attributes is that although he loves the game of hockey and plays it as often as he can, he hasn’t let that get in the way of always getting a good education and enjoying life as often as possible. Todd hails from Darien, CT where he grew up enjoying a variety of things on top of hockey. Working out, hitting the golf links, camping and fishing are just a few. He has a musical taste as well listening to everything but country. The Dave Matthews Band is by far his favorite band out there. Todd only has 1 sibling, a sister named Julie who he is very close with.

To start at the beginning, Todd attained his interest in goaltending thanks to one guy, Paul Bishop. Paul got Todd started as a net minder as he himself was a goaltender. It caught Todd’s attention and it’s a move he’s never looked back on. Early in his hockey career Todd played for Avon Old Farms Academy. It’s a step above high school hockey and he played for them for four seasons. Every season Avon Old Farms would make it to the semifinals or quarterfinals of the New England Prep School championships alongside two former USHL stars from Waterloo, Chad Poliquin and Matt Chandler. Unfortunately the club never was able to get past their archrivals but what an experience to have at that age. From there it was on to Northeastern University where Todd was recruited by head coach Mark Carlson. At Northeastern he planned on majoring in Business Finance. As the season was approaching changes took place at the University. Carlson took a head coaching position for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, a franchise recently moved from Mason City, Ia and a team beginning a new era in the United States Hockey League. Todd stayed put for the time being as he planned on redshirting his freshman season and aspired for more playing time in the years to come. Carlson and his new team were struggling awaiting their new stadium to be built, they played all of the games the first half of the season on the road and goaltending was a source of the problem for many of the losses. It was about that time that Carlson contacted Todd and mentioned the possibility of him coming to Cedar Rapids for some quality playing time rather than redshirting for Northeastern. Todd took him up on the offer. As he flew into Cedar Rapids he had just gotten over a bout with the Chicken Pox and hadn’t seen ice for three weeks. Not expecting it, he was told he was going to be the starting goaltender on opening night in Cedar Rapids newly built arena, appropriately named “The Stable”. That night Todd and the RoughRiders faced the Rochester Mustangs and their ace goalie Adam Coole. Facing Coole was challenge enough but just getting over the Chicken Pox made it even tougher. Taking everything in stride, he proceeded to lead his team on to victory going to a shootout and winning the game 3-2. “That was my greatest accomplishment in the USHL, winning on opening night in Cedar Rapids,” said Marr. “After the win, the whole community embraced the team, it was a big public effort” added Marr. For the remainder of the season Todd would put up some good numbers for a team who struggled to win going 13-11-5 with a 3.11 goals against average and a .909 saves percentage.

With the season over Todd headed back to Northeastern where he again, hoped to get some ice time. He was told he was going to get to play at least a couple games so he worked hard and practiced harder but it didn’t work out and Todd again went looking for a new home to hone his skills. Contacting Carlson he was somewhat disappointed to find that they had plenty of goaltenders on their roster and there wasn’t room for him. He did however, point him in the direction of Cedar Rapids sister team, the Waterloo BlackHawks. The owner of the RoughRiders also owned the BlackHawks so the two teams were well acquainted and Carlson advised Todd to contact Waterloo head coach Scott Koberinski. Koberinski was on the opposite spectrum of Carlson and was in desperate need of another goaltender and jumped at the opportunity to pick up someone with as much experience and talent as Marr. Being glad to come back to the Midwest, a place where he feels the people are “a lot more friendlier”, he came with his bags in hand. The season in Waterloo was not as productive as the previous year but he still played some fantastic games. In his first game as a BlackHawk, Todd faced 51 shots in a victory over the Tri-City Storm, 2-1. He followed that up with an impressive shootout victory over the Green Bay Gamblers. All in all, Todd played well. His numbers didn’t show it unfortunately. Waterloo was a team loaded with offense but struggling for defense and Todd’s numbers fell to 8-9 with a 3.87 GAA and .89 saves percentage. Those numbers are not at all indicative of his skill and ability, but you have to make the best with what you have.

With his second USHL season under his belt, Todd was rewarded with something all USHL’ers dream of getting, a college scholarship. Todd committed to Cornell University for next season. Cornell is located in upstate New York in the town of Ithaca. Todd will head there next year and learn from the Red Storm’s senior goaltending star, Matt Underhill. Todd feels it will be a quality learning experience to play behind someone of the caliber of Underhill and then he will be ready to take over command the following season. Todd says, “I will have two years left of eligibility left once the senior (Underhill) leaves. Cornell is also great because I will be able to get an Ivy education while playing Division I hockey”.

In his two seasons of USHL hockey Todd accomplished many things as mentioned above. Above everything else, he got the opportunity to meet some great people. “It was a great experience, I had good housing parents, everything was great”. Todd’s most difficult play as a goaltender is the 2 on 1 breakaway. “You don’t want to be too far out or too close, you don’t want to get caught cheating” says Marr. He always enjoys the second or third shot off rebounds as well. “Just when the opposition thinks they have an open net, you’re there for the shot”. While logging his minutes for Cedar Rapids and Waterloo he felt that the Lincoln Stars stadium was the most enjoyable to play in as they had the roughest crowd in the league. “I like to quiet the rowdy crowds with a save” adds Todd. The toughest rink to play in is Sioux City, since their dimensions are quite smaller than the rest of the teams in the league; he feels it messes up the angles that goaltenders rely on. The toughest task he faced was going to Cedar Rapids this past season as the goaltender for Waterloo and playing against his former teammates and having all his friends from Cedar Rapids on the other side of the fence. “It was real nerve-wracking,” said Marr.

All in all, Todd has seen a lot, done a lot and there isn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind that he has a lot more to do before hockey is all said and done. There’s something about a guy who dreams of playing in Pro hockey someday but who also realizes that it is better to get a quality education while chasing that dream so if something doesn’t work out along the way he is set for life. Todd’s a great guy and a great hockey player who has won the respect of many, I know he has mine.