Sports

Giants' Morrison focused solely on WHL title

Vancouver Giants goaltender Adam Morrison makes a save against Portland Winterhawks’ Taylor Peters during a Jan. 7 game at Pacific Coliseum. - C.J. Relke photo
Vancouver Giants goaltender Adam Morrison makes a save against Portland Winterhawks’ Taylor Peters during a Jan. 7 game at Pacific Coliseum.
— image credit: C.J. Relke photo

With less than half a season left in his junior hockey career, Vancouver Giants’ goaltender Adam Morrison is focused on one thing and one thing only: a championship.

Which says something of his focus, considering how many other things could creep into his mind and cloud his concentration.

For starters, the 20-year-old White Rock native is back playing on home ice for the first time since he left the Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Association for the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades – he was traded to Vancouver in October – and playing just a few kilometres up the road from family and friends brings its own pressures and potential distractions.

And then, of course, there is the issue of his hockey-playing future.

A former third-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2009, Morrison was not offered a contract by the NHL team by last spring’s deadline, thus making him a free agent with a wide open – or uncertain, depending on your point of view – future ahead of him.

But Morrison insists he’s not thinking about any of it. Spend a few minutes talking to him and it’s awfully hard not to believe him.

“I’m not worried about where I might be playing next year, or what’s going to happen, or any of that,” he said. “All I’m worried about is winning a championship with this team.”

He doesn’t spent much time dwelling on the past either. Morrison began his WHL career with the Saskatoon Blades as a 17 year old, but never got the chance to become a bonafide No. 1 goalie; he never played more than 36 games in a given season.

Last season was perhaps the toughest. He missed more than a month with mononucleosis, and upon his return was relegated to a backup role. He didn’t play in the playoffs, and then in June was let go by the Flyers.

He admits that looking back does occasionally give him a little spark.

“The last couple years have been a little rocky, so for sure, it’s motivation, but not in a ‘I want to get back at them’ kind of way,” he said. “Mostly, I’m just disappointed that I didn’t get the opportunity to prove I was worthy of a contract (from Philadelphia).

“I don’t really think about what has happened in the past, or what might’ve gone wrong. All I’m worried about is… doing everything possible to improve my own game.”

He’s certainly made the most of the opportunity to be a starting goaltender since arriving in Vancouver. He’s already played 33 games for the G-Men, and sports a 23-7-1-1 record with a 2.37 goals-against average and a save percentage of .913.

And he’s helped Vancouver get within striking distance of the Kamloops Blazers, who are currently in top spot in the WHL’s B.C. Division.

“We’re starting to believe in ourselves now, and believe that we’re a team that can come in and steal a championship,” Morrison said.

In addition to his success this season, Morrison said the chance to do it so close to home has been an added bonus.

“This is the team I grew up watching, so getting the chance to play with your hometown team is a dream come true.

“But really, I’ve had so many great memories playing in this league. It’s one thing to get to play a year or two here, but to play four or five seasons, to me is very gratifying.”

 

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