Generals championship win bittersweet for captain
Lacombe Generals Captain Don Morrison, second from right, along with teammates, accepts the provincial cup and banner following the Generals Senior AAA championship win last Wednesday at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex. (Ashii Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
The Lacombe Generals provincial victory was a different experience for Captain Don Morrison.
After suffering a neck injury in a game in January and undergoing surgery to fix it, the defensive stalwart had to watch from the stands as his team rallied to win the championship and secure their spot at the Allan Cup last Wednesday.
“To watch it was tough, but it still means the same,” Morrison said. “I’d rather have been out there, battling with the guys, but to see them battle the way they are makes me feel phenomenal.”
Described by fellow teammates as the heartbeat of the team, Morrison has been with the Generals for 11 seasons, including eight appearances in the Allan Cup final, and three cup wins. He had hoped to play 12 before his injury, especially with the team hosting the Allan Cup in 2019, but knows it’s unlikely to happen.
While he won’t be on the ice, he’s left no doubt that he’s still a leader on the team, albeit in a slightly different role.
“I can provide a lot of experience in terms of what to expect, things like that. Just a different angle – I can see things differently from up in the stands and while they’re down in the heat of a battle,” he said.
Morrison grew up playing hockey in the area, including on the Red Deer Rebels Banta AAA and Red Deer Chiefs Midget AAA teams before playing with the Olds Grizzlys in the AJHL and in the NCAA for four seasons with Bowling Green State University.
He played one season in the American Hockey League with the Philadelphia Phantoms, scoring four goals and nine assists in 52 games, and had a brief stint in the ECHL with the Trenton Titans in the 2006-2007 season.
Since then he’s been with the Generals franchise, which he describes as a family.
“When I came out of pro, they helped me find a job. Then you meet all these phenomenal people and it just becomes a network of great human beings, period,” he said. “I care deeply about everyone in this organization and always have. My wife feels the same way – we’ve invested a lot of time into this team and it’s never disappointed me to do that.
“What we do is we win and we win as a group.”
The hope is that will be the case come the Allan Cup tournament which begins on April 9 in Rosetown, Saskatchewan.