Frosh Follows Family Trade

Like Father Like Morrison
Robert L. Ruffins

Freshman forward Conor Morrison, shown here in earlier action, hopes to follow in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather by one day playing in the NHL. Morrison is off to a good start—the frosh’s 10 goals are tied for the most on the Crimson this season.

Hockey has always been in Conor Morrison’s blood.

His father, Dave, played in the National Hockey League for the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks in the early ’80s. His grandfather, Dave’s father Jim, was a three-time All Star who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, and New York Rangers over his 12 season career.

Conor even went to high school in Lake Placid, N.Y., where the most venerated hockey game in United States history–the 1980 “Miracle on Ice”–took place.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the Harvard freshman forward is something of a hockey fanatic himself.

“He just lives and breathes hockey, that’s literally all he does,” his roommate Gavin Pascarella says. “Most kids get distracted by Facebook, he comes back and watches hockey...It’s all he really knows.”

It was an innate passion, one that began almost as soon as Conor could walk.

“The moment we brought a little mini stick home and he could walk he was carrying that mini stick everywhere,” Dave Morrison says. “And every game he had he would transform into a hockey game. He’d play hockey with a backgammon board, using the dice as a puck.”

But as he grew older, Conor’s childhood wasn’t all fun and games. With his father playing professionally in Europe, Conor was constantly moving from country to country as per the demand’s of his father’s career. Born in Switzerland, Conor also lived in Germany and England as a child–something that wasn’t easy on a young boy just trying to find somewhere he fit in.

“Growing up, I didn’t spend a lot of time in one place,” Conor says. “I had to adjust, going to different schools, having to learn a different language in Germany. We’d be back to Ontario, and I’d have my friends there, but I’d have been away for six [or] seven months when my dad was in season...It was tough adjusting to the different social settings.”

Despite this hardship, the traveling also represented an opportunity for Conor, one his father always encouraged him to take full advantage of.

“I’ve always been around hockey, so he’s always been around it,” Dave says. “He’d be able to come to the rink with me, to watch good hockey players play...I think Conor got a lot of his ability from watching other players.”

As Conor continued to watch, his love for his dad’s and his grandfather’s game continued to soar.

“I always loved the game, and I loved being around it,” Conor says. “Before my dad would practice in Europe I’d go out on the ice before the teams skated and skate by myself.”

And as his passion continued to grow, Conor’s talent began to blossom, thanks largely to his family’s tutelage.

“Obviously having both my father and my grandfather helped a lot in terms of my development,” Conor says. “Since they played at the highest level, I’d always have advice coming from both of them. Whenever we watched games they’d give me little pointers on how to make myself better.”