Change Is Afoot For Joe Orr

NZIHL February 3, 2022  172

There is no better time for a new beginning than the start of a new year, and Phoenix Thunder veteran player, Joe Orr, is making moves.

Photo by Renee Sari Photography

After a decade playing for the Thunder, we will see this fan-favourite player trade his green jersey for a red one in 2022.

This Dunedin youngster spent more time in the Dunedin Ice Stadium than any other building, we’re sure of it. Starting his hockey career at the age of 9, Joe played for regional teams and his high school team before joining the Thunder in 2012 when he was just 16.

Joe has played 148 NZIHL games (including Auckland Mako games). He has scored 43 goals, 33 assists, and amassed 76 points. Representing New Zealand at 3 World Championships and playing two seasons in the American Collegiate Hockey Association II League for Williston State College has allowed Joe to finesse his hockey and leadership skills.
Known for his ‘silky smooth’ puck handling skills and agility, Joe is a formidable force on the ice. Off the ice, Joe has held leadership positions within the Thunder for many seasons. Joe describes his leadership style as ‘inclusive’. “I like to make sure everyone is involved and comfortable and build out from there.”

Joe in action at Dunedin Ice Stadium – Photo by Kea Photos

“I remember when he was just a wee junior player. I have watched him grow into an effective player and part of the team on and off the ice. He’s been an asset to the development of ice hockey in Dunedin, and it’s sad to see him go. Christchurch are lucky to have him” – Mat Enright, Phoenix Thunder Forward.

Over the years, Thunder has become synonymous with having a solid team culture, and athletes like Joe are a credit to that.

“I like being a ‘glue guy’ hanging out and talking to everyone on the team and not just my group; I try to build a web in all directions, so everyone is connected.”

Joe decided to make to move to Christchurch for a change of scenery. Before Covid foiled plans, Joe had spent two seasons in the states before heading back to Dunedin. With international travel retaken off the plan, Christchurch offers Joe an element of ‘new’.

Photo by Kea Photos

“Mainly just a change of scenery. New opportunities, new people, new places. I began to feel a bit flat and stuck (in Dunedin). It was a hard decision to make because I am a Dunedin local, and I’ve become accustomed to the incredible ice facility in Dunedin. Still, Christchurch has a lot to offer, so I decided to leap!”

The idea of playing for a new team excites Joe. “I’ve played for the Thunder for ten seasons, and although the organisation holds a huge chunk of my heart, it’s exciting to be in a new team.”

A significant blow to the Thunder will be a game-changer for the Red Devils; Joe brings experience and depth to the side both on and off the ice. “I’ve been a part of young teams going through development processes; this is a challenge that the Devils have been going through, and I am confident this year we’ll be back in stride.”

Catch Joe and the Red Devils when they play against West Auckland Admirals in Avondale on 21 May 2022.