From Iceland to Chicago: The Story of Thoranna Kika Hodge-Carr 

While she has settled into her new home of Chicago, Hodge-Carr said she misses Iceland.

Head coach Allison Guth and the Loyola women’s basketball staff received a Christmas gift from fourth-year Thoranna Kika Hodge-Carr, which they initially thought was just an average cup of candy. Upon further investigation, Guth saw a Photoshopped picture of Hodge-Carr’s face on the body of Marvel’s Thor, with the phrase “Thor loves you” on it. 

Guth, who said Hodge-Carr is one of the funniest people to be around, said this is normal behavior from the guard. 

“That’s her personality,” Guth said through laughter. “I can’t capture it enough. This kid is, like — she’s special. She has fun. She’s also a kid who’s a winner.” 

Hodge-Carr, a native of Keflavik, Iceland, came from an athletic family even though she said she struggled to find the same love for sports her brother and father had. 

While she has settled into her new home of Chicago, Hodge-Carr said she misses Iceland and sometimes struggles with the differences in America, such as the culture and food. 

Guth said Hodge-Carr’s winter break was shrunk down to just three days to travel home to Iceland and see her family before returning to Rogers Park and the court with the Ramblers. 

Hodge-Carr also said she struggles with a language barrier while in her classes. Pursuing a master’s degree in applied social psychology, Hodge-Carr said she has had to adjust to “speaking right” while in class.

Hodge-Carr tried to get involved in other sports such as gymnastics and soccer, but she didn’t have the ability to continue on. Her father knew she was strong and pushed her to try a familiar sport — basketball. 

Hodge-Carr’s father, who played college basketball, wanted her to continue his legacy, so he bribed her with $5 every month to play. Eventually, Hodge-Carr grew to love the sport and made multiple friends while playing. 

In Iceland, Hodge-Carr was selected to play for the Icelandic National Youth Team every year starting in 2014. There are different rules in European basketball including a 24 second shot clock, as opposed to a 30 second shot clock in America, which Hidge-Carr said adds more pressure to the game. She said she thinks the faster pace gave her more experience in controlling the ball.

She became a national champion with the Keflavik team in 2017. With the team, she averaged 9.4 points and 5.5 rebounds during their 2019-20 season. 

Her father is originally from the United States, which pushed Hodge-Carr to attend Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. The move to the states was a hard one for Hodge-Carr, but it was one she said she knew she needed to make. 

“I love Iceland as my home and my heart,” she said. “I got my family and friends there, but I think it was one of the best decisions I ever made to come here and experience different cultures, people from all walks of life. I got better at basketball, and I met some great people and coaches that also helped me grow.” 

Hodge-Carr’s time at Iona started with the 2020-21 season, which took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the first years were a little slow since there were precautions in place for the team. Hodge-Carr said she spent a lot of time working on herself as a player with individual workouts and built a community with the team which she now considers family. 

At Iona, Hodge-Carr won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship and went on to play Duke University in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. Hodge-Carr said she believes her experience in conference tournaments has added to the depth of the Ramblers. 

“I think I’ve learned how it is and what you have to bring to win,” Hodge-Carr said. “I think I can kind of influence the girls and try to pick them up and try to do the little things so we will be more successful.” 

Guth and Loyola’s coaching staff were eyeing Hodge-Carr before she even decided to leave Iona, according to Guth. Assistant coach Jordan McCann had previously coached Hodge-Carr at Iona and maintained their strong relationship while he was at Loyola. 

Guth said Hodge-Carr had all of the qualities she was looking for in a player to incorporate into the Loyola style of play. 

“We had an insider track and when we started building a relationship with her, and I just loved her as a human,” Guth said. “I thought she could be about building the culture that we are building here right now.”  

McCann was the team’s key to talking with Hodge-Carr, and she officially entered the transfer portal and started her journey to Chicago. 

Hodge-Carr ultimately decided to continue her education and athletic career at Loyola, which Loyola Athletics announced on July 18. She said the process of being in the transfer portal was a stressful time. 

“There is a lot going on in a short amount of time,” Hodge-Carr said. “There are a lot of options you’d have to look at and really process to make the right decision.” 

She said Loyola was the right choice for her and she instantly felt at home on campus. Guth said Hodge-Carr was a perfect fit for the team, describing her humble character and competitive grit on the court as well as her humorous and caring side off the court. 

Guth said she can easily see Hodge-Carr step into the captain role, which is currently held by graduate guard Sam Galanopoulos. 

After college, Hodge-Carr said she doesn’t want to give up basketball, but the 24-year-old is not sure if she wants to play professionally. In her free time, Hodge-Carr enjoys letting out her creative side with drawing and painting, which she said she gets from her mother. 

Featured image by Megan Dunn | The Phoenix

Andi Revesz

Andi Revesz