NZIHL June 27, 2024  39

Joe Orr: A New Era Of Leadership And Inspiration

2024 is a new chapter in the storied history of the Red Devils, a team known for its fierce competitiveness and dedication to the sport. With a new head coach and captain, Anton Purver and Joe Orr; the changing of the gates signifies big moves for the team.

“Indeed, it’s a new era, but one that feels familiar to me,” explains Orr. “I’ve experienced this process multiple times, with seasoned players departing and younger talents stepping up. Accountability and unity will play pivotal roles in how we unite to chase our common objective as a team.”

A Leader on and off the Ice

Joe Orr’s journey to captaincy has been marked by relentless hard work, exceptional skill, and an unwavering commitment to his team. His career with the Canterbury Red Devils has been characterized by consistent performances, making him a standout player both in offensive and defensive roles. But what truly sets Orr apart is his style of leadership. Known for his positive attitude, his willingness to participate and his calm demeanour, Orr is more than just a skilled player—he is a natural leader.

“Since walking through the doors of Alpine Ice back 2022 Joe’s personality and skill has demanded a mutual respect from his fellow Red Devils teammates,” says Red Devils management, Neil Carey. “Joe is a calm and intelligent leader who backs up what he asks from his teammates with his own consistently high-performance rate. Joe’s promotion from the Assistant to Captain for the 2024 Red Devils team was thoroughly deserved.”

Photo thanks to Red Devils

O for Orrsome

Joe’s ability to stay positive and motivate his teammates, even in challenging situations, has boosted overall team morale. “I’ve seen success in this team in 2022, and also watched it fall apart in 2023. I have a clear understanding of what it takes for us to achieve maximum success in all aspects, and adopting a balanced approach in our conduct both on and off the ice is crucial.”

Effective communication is a cornerstone of any successful team. While in the Phoenix Thunder, Orr was instrumental in fostering open and honest communication among the players and coaching staff. This is a skill that he takes with him into the captaincy of the Red Devils.

As a veteran player, Orr is keenly aware of the importance of nurturing young talent. He has taken on a mentorship role, guiding younger players through the demands of competitive hockey. His wisdom, knowledge and game smarts are a weapon for the Red Devils, making rookies feel at home and bringing their potential to light. “Avoiding extremes is crucial. It’s important not to overwhelm others with lots of points and concepts, leading to unnecessary confusion. Alignment on goals is essential for staying focused on the game plan. Addressing challenges and leveraging our strengths are key steps for progress.”

Orr’s tactical thinking allows for flexibility and flow in games, capitalising on opportunities that come his way. “Being able to play 120 minutes of good, consistent hockey each game weekend is the goal. Sure, the Birgel Cup is always in our minds, but it starts with good hockey.

Photo thanks to Red Devils

The Road Ahead

As the Canterbury Red Devils move forward under Joe Orr’s captaincy, the future looks bright. His leadership is not just about winning games but building a resilient, united, and dynamic team.

As always, when we gave Joe the opportunity to thank anyone, he said what he always says in an interview, “I just want to shout out my mum!”

“Expect to see the C on Joe’s chest for some time ahead.” Neil Carey

This weekend the Red Devils host the Auckland Mako in Christchurch.

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Featured image thanks to James Allan Photography –