BOSTON, MA -- At the start of training camp this past season, Tristan Morin was on top of the world as he entered his 2nd season in the EHL with Chris Cerrella. The veteran coach gave great recognition for Morin's speed and skill, along with his excellence in the classroom and a work ethic that all of his teammates envied. Morin was also the Assistant Captain, and got off to a great start with 6 points in his first 8 games. It was in the 9th game of the season where Morin's career took a shocking turn.
At 4:06 of the 3rd period, in a matchup against the Philadelphia Little Flyers, Morin was heading up the ice with the puck when he was suddenly hit from behind into the penalty box, however this was not a normal hit, as the forward was catapulted into a stanchion that a player could not be protected from. It was a nasty looking hit, and a hit that both Coach Cerrella and Morin will never forget.
“I immediately jumped over the boards as I had never seen a hit like this before," said Cerrella. "I do not think it was intentional at all, but I saw Tristan hit the stanchion and literally bend in half as both players were going full speed up the boards, and both made impact on something that was not going to give. I knew this was not going to be good, I knew this could be very serious."
Morin spent the next few hours in a hospital outside of Aston, PA, with Coach Cerrella by his side the whole time. Doctors ran a series of tests including X-Rays and CT Scans for his head and neck injuries. Morin had whiplash and a serious concussion, which everyone thought would keep him out a few weeks at the most. After over a month of rest and different sets of doctor visits, it was becoming clear that the speedy left winger may never play hockey again as his neck and head symptoms were still persistent. Morin worked tirelessly as he tried to shake the symptoms and finally on January 25th, over 90 days later, he passed all his tests and was set to be back in the lineup. He would play in just 5 games the rest of the way, where he collected 4 points before doctors once again had decided that it was not in his best interest to continue to play. As the Morin family struggled with the fact that the hockey journey could be over, Coach Cerrella continued to work the phones for his player and found a college that was willing to bring him in despite his injury as long as he was medically cleared to return to play. Morin was chosen by Curry College to continue his academic and athletic career and all he had to do was get stronger and make sure that he was 100% healthy when he landed on campus in August of 2017. With a full off-season to get prepared Morin hit the gym and the ice every day, as well as keeping up with his PT. After a long off-season Morin was finally feeling 100% and completely cleared to take the ice for Curry. Morin had overcome a terrible injury, one that could have ended his hockey career, but he never gave up and he finally achieved his goal of attending a school where he could play for their NCAA hockey team.
He often thinks back on his junior career, the injury, and all the great memories he had with his teammates. Morin truly knows how lucky he was too have been able to continue his career.
“After getting hurt last season, I didn’t know if I would be able to play hockey again," said Morin. "Although I missed my final season of junior hockey, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything the world. I met lifelong friends along the way and was able to develop into a better player. The reason why I chose to play juniors after prep school was so I can at some point play college hockey, and while this goal seemed unobtainable after getting injured, Coach Cerrella told me to trust the process, keep working hard and have a positive attitude. Coach Cerrella never gave up on me and without his support I would not be where I am today. From day one of juniors he taught me what I needed in order to get there. While the process was hard at times I never did lose sight of my ultimate goal. I am grateful for Coach Cerrella because I am now playing college hockey, which is something that I always dreamed about. When I committed to Curry College I knew it was not going to be easy and I knew I was going to have work even harder to once again compete at a high level after missing the whole season before. I had to battle through a lot of adversity each and every day and I found a new strength in myself. I am thankful I was able to play in the EHL and for Coach Cerrella. If I did not play junior hockey I would not be where I am today."
Through his first 11 games with the Colonels this season, Morin has a goal and 4 assists.