SMU hockey player cracks the top eight

Chris Morrison is one of the Top Eight Academic All-Canadians in university sport. "His work ethic is like nothing I have ever seen," says teammate.


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Chris Morrison says he doesn't have much time for a social life between hockey and being an honours student in criminology

A little hard work can really pay off in the long run. Just ask Chris Morrison. On Monday, Canadian Interuniversity Sport named Morrison as one of the Top Eight Academic All-Canadians.

Morrison is the assistant captain for the Saint Mary's men's hockey team and has played for it during each of his four years at Saint Mary's. The 23-year-old from Cambridge Ont., got his start in minor hockey and eventually played for the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League for three years before coming to Saint Mary's.

He is a fourth-year honours student as well, carrying a 4.05 grade point average. He is majoring in criminology and writing his thesis on state corporate crime in Columbia. After he graduates, he wants to become a police officer in Ontario. He's taking five 4,000-level honours courses. Along with his extensive school work, Morrison practices for an hour and a half every day with his team on top of going to the gym every morning.

He says there's not a lot of time for a social life. "It's not easy. It's very stressful," he said. Academic All-Canadians are individuals who are at the top of their class, excel at their sport and are active in their communities, so it takes a lot of hard work.

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Morrison is in the gym almost every morning and has practice for an hour and a half every day. He also has to fit quite a few games into his budy schedule

CIS Top Eight Academic All-Canadians

Atlantic University Sports

  • Isabelle Miles (UNB Soccer and Science)
  • Chris Morrison (SMU Hockey and Criminology)

Quebec Student Sports Federation

  • Paméla Filiatrault-Veilleux (Laval Swimming and Psychology)
  • Emmanuel André-Morin (Montreal Volleyball and Business Administration)

Ontario University Athletics

  • Noelle Montcalm (Windsor Track & Field and Nursing)
  • Keith Beavers (Waterloo Swimming and Masters of Applied Health Sciences)

Canada West Universities Athletic Association

  • Kayla Dykstra (Victoria Basketball and Education
  • Kyle Ross (Regina Hockey and Business Administration)

Morrison's coach at Saint Mary's, Trevor Stienberg, says it's Morrison's work ethic that sets him apart from everyone else. "One of the most respected I've seen in my 13 years here," said Stienberg. "He walks the walk every day with his work ethic in the gym every morning. He's the first guy to sign up for anything," he said. "His leadership and his conviction to win is contagious."

Morrison says his strong work ethic comes from his family and his upbringing.

"They've always pushed me on having a strong work ethic and not having any regrets," said Morrison. He is inspired by his grandfather who came here as a German immigrant after the Second World War and served with the Canadian Forces. "He came with nothing and worked hard," he said.

His team is just as respectful of his work ethic as his coach.

"His work ethic is like nothing I have ever seen," said Marc Rancourt, captain of the men's hockey team. "He's the hardest working guy every game and every practice, which holds every guy on our team accountable for their own work ethic."

He's also impressed with Morrison's intensive study habits. "Anytime I need someone to go to the library with, I can always count on Chris to be there," he said.

Morrison was surprised when he heard the news about the distinction.

"It's a pretty big honour. I didn't expect it...kind of a shock," he said.

Every year Canadian Interuniversity Sport selects one male and one female from each regional conference, making up the top eight. It's not an easy thing to qualify for. But Rancourt says that, "Chris is extremely deserving of this award and it couldn't have happened to a better guy."

Michel Bélanger, a rep for Canadian Interuniversity Sport says the first step in reaching Academic All-Canadian status is to maintain an average grade of 80 while playing a university sport, something Morrison has accomplished for the past three years. The selection of the top eight is made by regional representatives.

"To be eligible for the top eight, a student athlete must excel on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Obviously, at that point criteria are subjective, and I'm sure it's a very tough choice each year for the regional associations," said Bélanger.

Morrison works just as hard for his community during the summer when he's home as he does here at Saint Mary's in the classroom and on the ice. This past summer he volunteered his time to meals on wheels, bringing food to senior citizens. "Every summer I try to pick one thing," says Morrison.

"It's a hard task," said Dave Sabourin, a first-year student at Saint Mary's about Morrison being able to maintain a high grade point average while playing hockey almost full time.

"I think that's great that he's doing well in school while playing hockey," says Corey Smith, a business student at Saint Mary's. "I've been in groups with players from the sports teams in my subjects and they all seem to balance school and their sport as well," he said.



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