Connecting with Joey Bouchard last season brought an opportunity for 100 Mile House Wranglers Aidan Morrison.
Bouchard is the coach Morrison will play for when he joins the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder this fall in the Alberta Collegiate Athletic Conference (ACAC). It’s an opportunity that Morrison, a Calgary native, says is “huge for him.”
The Thunder have been in the ACAC since the 1995-96 season and is considered one of the oldest programs at Concordia. In their 25 years, they have qualified for the playoffs 17 times – including 11 in a row from 2002-03 to 2012-13. They have been to the ACAC championship twice, winning once in 02-03.
Morrison came into contact with Bouchard, through a scout who watched the Wranglers defenceman play in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) showcase in Kamloops two years ago.
“After communicating with Joey about the university and the Thunder program, I was very impressed with how important athletics are to Concordia, as well as how important the team takes their academics, and maintaining a high team GPA,” says Morrison.
It was only after committing to the Thunder prior to Christmas did Morrison start playing like the strong, two-way defenceman he is. He slid into a leadership role as an assistant captain for the Wranglers.
“I felt like a difference maker for the Wranglers this past season, which is an empowering feeling that only made me want to get better and better,” says Morrison, who turned 20 on April 9.
Morrison’s confidence grew ten-fold, and because his confidence grew, he played a better game.
“I was really able to use more of an offensive mind and join many offensive rushes and plays,” he adds.
Not only did Morrison grow as a player on the ice in 100 Mile House, he grew as a person. The community work the Wranglers did was motivating to Morrison, who met kids that looked up to the team. That forced them to become role models, which helped Morrison build a positive character in the community and with his teammates.
“Head coach Dale Hladun was crucial to my development,” he says. “I was given lots of ice time and free range to play the way I thought was best for our team and my own development. He was more than a coach, he had a connection with players on a level of friendship. This showed me integrity, and was the main reason I came to 100 Mile House my first year.”
Entering the next chapter of his career, Morrison is excited, but he feels prepared from his time in the KIJHL to play fewer games, but take on the added responsibility of school work. Morrison says the KIJHL helped him mature into the person and player he is.
In 107 career regular season and playoff games, Morrison had 13 goals and 65 points over two seasons.
AE Images photo