THE sister of a recently deceased ice hockey player is set to take to the ice and referee a match in his memory.
Avril Marr, 40, who is a fully qualified ice hockey referee, will put the puck in at the fundraising match being held this weekend to remember father-of-one Alex Marr, who passed away earlier this year.
Alex, who was originally from Wester Hailes, died age 34 in July after high blood pressure caused an aortic dissection for which he underwent surgery, but never recovered. He left behind a son, Kieran Whyte, 15.
On Sunday evening at Murrayfield ice rink, players from Edinburgh Phoenix and Glenrothes ice hockey teams will face off in the charity match to remember Alex and help raise money for Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland. Avril said: “I’ve been a full-time referee for the past five years but this season I’ve let my registration lapse as I’m returning to college. Fortunately, the powers-that-be have ruled it’s OK for me to ref the game as a one-off. I’m delighted to be doing it in memory of my brother and hope that we raise a lot of money on the night.”
She added: “Earlier in the year Alex had very high blood pressure and he had done for a while without us knowing as he had kept it to himself. I don’t think he realised how ill he was and insisted there was nothing wrong with him.
“He was on prescription medicines but refused to take them because he didn’t believe himself to be ill. It was a shock to us all when it happened and we miss him dearly.”
Having been brought up in Westburn in Wester Hailes Alex got into ice hockey after Avril joined a junior girls team in Livingston called the Leopards and began watching the Murrayfield Racers games.
Avril said: “Alex came with me one night to watch and that was when he decided he wanted to play too. He played for the Murrayfield junior set-up, right up to under-19 level and made it into the Scotland under-19 squad before he gave it up.
“After a few years away from the sport he asked me if I fancied returning as a recreational player so he and I signed up for Edinburgh Phoenix.”
They trained and played with the Phoenix for a while before meeting up with some players who came from Stirling who said that the club in that area was defunct so the siblings set-up the Stirling Patriots.
Avril added: “After his death I wanted to do something in memory of Alex, as he had done in memory of our brother Billy who died 13 years ago. Alex arranged the Billy Marr Memorial Cup every year while he was involved at the Patriots. I spoke to one of his friends that played in Fife after the funeral to run the idea past him and he was very enthusiastic.”
Sunday’s encounter takes place after the Edinburgh Capitals v Fife Flyers game, with face-off at 8.30pm.