Aidan Morrison has freed himself from the pressure of playing Junior A hockey. Because of that, he is thriving with the 100 Mile House Wranglers.
“I’m going to the University of Concordia Edmonton and I’m going to be playing for their team there, so that’s kind of cool that I kind of committed to that a month ago,” said Morrison. “That will be awesome. I’m really excited for the next chapter. I feel the past five years of my life has been junior-oriented. Just so much focus on Junior A, and now I feel like I’m better because I’ve freed myself from that.”
Morrison is a defenceman for the Wranglers for the past two seasons and has taken a larger role this year, proving himself to be an offensive threat. From the blue line, Morrison has scored 21 points (four goals, 17 assists) this season. In total, he’s collected 50 points in just 75 games in the Kootenay International Junior League, all with the Wranglers.
“I think I’m a two-way defenceman but I’m heavily offensively especially this year,” he said, describing his style of play. “I feel that way because I have a large role on the team so I can play more offensively. I was offensive last year too but I was more two ways, whereas this year I focus more on my offensive ability.”
Morrison said the NHL players he has modelled his play after bounces around quite a bit. When he was a bantam, he watched San Jose Sharks’ Erik Karlsson a lot, as the Swede was a very offensive player. But Morrison explained someone brought to his attention that they weren’t all that similar in style after all. So he started watching Nashville’s Ryan Ellis, who is more Morrison’s size, also has a knack for getting points but is also very aggressive – which Morrison isn’t. He’s not a guy who gets physical, collects penalty minutes or fights.
“The past summer I started watching Samuel Girard on the Colorado Avalanche because, in my opinion, he’s the exact type of playing style I am – obviously he’s a lot better, but the same type of player as me. He’s not super physical or super aggressive, but he skates really well, makes really good first passes and has good offensive ability.”
Morrison, now 19, started playing hockey when he was four years old, playing minor hockey all the way up until midget in Calgary before coming to 100 Mile House for junior.
“Duner [head coach and general manager Dale Hladun of the Wranglers] saw me at a camp in Cowichan a few years ago and he sort of spoke to me then a little bit. I had no idea what 100 Mile House was before that but he showed he was interested in me as a player and he was different from other coaches. He cared more about moving players on and the individual, not so much the business where I find a lot of coaches are just like we’re (players) are a piece of meat and it’s just a business. So that definitely stood out, speaking to Dale. That’s what brought me here.”