Morrison Applies Trade in Winnipeg

By Andrew Bourgeois


Justin Morrison is the evidence of Wayne Gretzky’s effect on hockey in Southern California. Morrison grew up in Los Angeles. It was not exactly known as hockey hotbed when he was a kid. Now he is in Winnipeg as a member of the Manitoba Moose. Definitely known as hockey hotbed.

“Nobody in my family played, none of my friends played. I just started on my own and I took it from there,” said Morrison. “No one in my high school played. A lot of people thought I was cool because I was doing something different.”

Just like Canadian kids, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-winger caught the puck bug early. “I was going public skating, just learning how to skate, and after the public session was over I’d always see the recreation hockey players coming on afterward,” recalled Morrison. “I’d just sit there and watch. I was just amazed, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know much about it at all, but right after I saw them play with all the equipment and stuff. I just went straight home and told my mom that’s what I wanted to do.”

“They thought I was crazy. They didn’t know anything about the sport of hockey,” said Morrison. “They were saying, ‘No way.’ I finally had to convince them I wanted to play and after that they loved it.

“I only played at a local rink for one year and then after that it was select teams and we would practise all over Southern California. It took a lot of work for my parents.” “I didn’t really notice the Kings, or know much about them, until Gretzky came to L.A.,” said Morrison. “There are a lot more rinks now than there was when I first started. It’s growing big time.”

Vancouver took Morrison in the fourth round, 81st overall, in the 1997 draft. They signed him this past summer following his senior year when Morrison scored 21 goals and 35 points in 41 games. Canucks head coach Marc Crawford said Morrison has the makings of a power forward.

“I didn’t think I played as well as I could in camp,” said Morrison, 22. “You put a lot of pressure on yourself. This first year’s going to be real good for me, learning the pro game as opposed to the college game. I think things are going to start working out real well once I adjust.”

Tonight In The AHL

Manitoba Moose 2

Saint John Flames 4

Hartford Wolf Pack 3

Albany River Rats 2

Worcester Ice Cats 5

Hershey Bears 2

Hamilton Bulldogs 2

Quebec Citadelles 3

Rochester American 4

WBS Penguins 4

St. Johns Maple Leafs 2

Lowell Lock Monsters 3

Springfield Falcons 2

Norfolk Admirals 3

Portland Pirates 2

Cincinnati Mighty Ducks 1

Utah Grizzlies 2

Chicago Wolves 4

Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4

Syracuse Crunch 4

Houston Aeros 3

Milwaukee Admirals 2