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‘He’s obsessed with getting better’, Scott Morrow went from a college decommit to a top NHL prospect
From being born into a hockey family to making a big step at UMass in his freshman season
March 7, 2022
In a physical overtime game with one of the Hockey East’s best teams in Merrimack, freshman Scott Morrow couldn’t possibly have predicated what would happen when he stepped on the ice in the third period.
When his teammate passed the puck to him, Scott shot a one-timer from his knees for his first collegiate goal. Cheers echoed through the Mullins Center for Scott with his first ever goal coming in the form of a game-winner to knock down the Warriors.
After starting the first five games without a goal, Scott finally got that pressure off his shoulders. Even as a freshman, Scott is making a campaign for himself as one of the top offensive defensemen to put on a UMass jersey.
“For the first five games of the season I kind of felt it coming,” Scott said. “It felt good to put one in the back of the net and help our team get a win. Ever since then it has come a lot easier for me offensively so I’m happy to get a jump start like that.”
Long before that first goal, Scott’s family ties to hockey and dedication to become successful sent him on a promising path from a young age.
Scott grew up in the town of Darien, CT where he was born into hockey. Scott’s dad, Steve Morrow played at the University of New Hampshire and was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1987 NHL Draft.
After his career at UNH, he went to play for the Hershey Bears of the AHL where he played a total of 69 games. He ultimately ended his career with the Fort Worth Fire of the CHL and retired in the 1993 season.
Also named Scott Morrow, his uncle went the same path as Steve with playing at UNH. Scott’s uncle had a lengthy hockey career, playing for the Hershey Bears for a year and even spent time in Western Massachusetts playing for the now Springfield Thunderbirds. He also spent four games in the NHL playing for the Calgary Flames before being sent back to the AHL and retired from hockey in 2002.
All three of Scott’s younger siblings play hockey, Sydney, Sophie, and Spencer. With his strong family connections to the game, Scott started skating at a young age and immediately fell in love with it. He started skating with his dad and siblings when his dad bribed him with candy so him and his siblings would skate with him.
The Morrows had a synthetic ice rink in their basement since Scott was a kid. Scott would go down to the basement so much that the synthetic ice became worn down. She skated and shot pucks downstairs at any hour of the day, to the point where Steve had to replace the ice entirely.
Come seventh grade, Scott had a decision to make: if he wanted to take his hockey career seriously and move away from his small Connecticut town or continue playing for fun. He decided to continue his hockey career at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a prep school located in Faribault, MN. The prep school is located 1,231 miles from his hometown, but Scott saw an opportunity to further develop. The prep school produced high caliber NHL talent, including names like Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Jack Johnson. One of Scott’s current teammates Bobby Trivigno also spent time at the school.
“Growing up the reason I chose [Shattuck] was because I knew I wanted play in the NHL,” Scott said. “I really just believed in the development up there compared to places out east because they play more games and just have a better track record.”
The only hiccup: Scott needed to sell his parents on the idea, too.
He sat his parents down and presented a slideshow to them to show why he should go to Shattuck. One of his biggest points was that he one day wants to go to the NHL and Shattuck would help him get there. His presentation worked, and his parents agreed to let him go to Shattuck.
In eighth grade, Scott went off to Shattuck and quickly became successful. In his fifth and last year at the school he totaled eight goals and 40 assists for 48 points.
During his time at Shattuck, Scott was invited to try out for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. Names like Trevor Zegras, Charlie McAvoy, and Auston Matthews have come out of the program, it was a no brainer for him to go to tryouts.
He made it to the top 40 in tryouts but did not make the final team when cuts were made. It was the first time that he had hit adversity being cut from a team that he had really wanted to play on. Instead of getting down on himself he took it as a chance to better himself as a player.
Despite putting up 48 points in his last year at Shattuck, NHL teams still wanted more from Scott and gave him two options. Staying at Shattuck for his final year — which would drop him some places in the draft — or go to the USHL.
Scott turned down the USHL before, so he wasn’t afraid to do it again if he thought Shattuck was his best option. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Scott and his family decided that the best thing for him was to stay at Shattuck with his three siblings and mom.
“[Scott] is pretty strong willed and we are pretty strong willed as a family and we’ll typically do what’s best for him,” Steve said. “Even though people might not like that decision, we’ll do what’s in the best interest of Scott and his development in trying to achieve his goals.”
He did play a few games in the USHL despite turning the league down multiple times. He played a total of eight games, two being with the Youngstown Phantoms and six playoff games with the Fargo Force.
With the lack of USHL games, the college that Scott had originally committed to, the University of North Dakota, told him that he must play a year in the USHL to come play for them and start his freshman season in 2022-23. Scott wanted a college that believed in him, so he decided to decommit from North Dakota and find a better fit elsewhere. When he went back to the college search, he knew about his family’s strong UNH connection but despite that connection, Scott never felt the pressure to commit there from his family.
“You want kids to go on their own path,” Steve said about Scott’s commitment to UMass. “You don’t want them to go the same path that you went down and if anything, you want them to do what’s best for them because they are ultimately a different person than you are.”
When Scott travelled to UMass for a campus tour he fell in love with what the university offered him.
“Coach Carvel and the UMass staff believed in who I was and didn’t believe I had to play in a certain place before I was ready,” Scott said. “I’m just fortunate I ended up in the place I really belonged.”
Before Scott traveled to UMass to start his freshman season, he went through the 2021 NHL Draft process. The difference for him compared to the other players who were going to go get drafted was that Scott was in Detroit at the World Juniors showcase and didn’t have his family around him.
The Morrow family had a hard decision to make on if they should go or not. They decided that Scott had to focus on the task he had at hand, so they ultimately decided not to go.
“Like anything with Scott, he does not get hung up on anything and he’s really obsessed with getting better. While getting drafted is a fun thing to go through, he realizes that it’s just a step in the process and his next focus is ‘great I just got drafted, but now how do I get there’,” Steve said about not being able to be with Scott on his draft night.
Multiple prospect rankings lists — including TSN’s own Bob McKenzie — had Scott as a top prospect. But he didn’t buy into that or pay any attention to the draft rankings. He was eventually drafted in the second round, 40th overall to the Carolina Hurricanes. Before he even stepped on campus, he became the second highest NHL Draft pick in UMass history, behind Cale Makar.
“At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter where you get picked, it’s what you do after that,” Scott said about his place in the draft. “I’m just fortunate that I got drafted by a team in Carolina who didn’t really care where I played or what people said about me.”
The profession of hockey has changed a lot since Steve and Scott’s uncle last stepped foot on the ice for a professional game. Despite that, they continue to give Scott the support that he needs in his hockey career.
“We understand how hard it is to make it to the NHL and we also know what needs to happen to get there,” Steve said. “I’m lucky that a lot of the guys I played with are GMs in the NHL or coaches in the NHL and occasionally I’ll talk to them to ask them what he needs to do to get there, and we convey that to Scott and he runs with it.”
Scott can often be found watching video and finding different ways to learn how to better himself as a player. His father and uncle have both instilled that knowledge to him, so he knows the importance of consistent improvement if he wants a career in the NHL.
It was no surprise that he was an immediate impact player. Scott hasn’t finished a full season at UMass and put up numbers that most freshman do not see in their first year in college hockey. In five months on campus and he’s tallied 31 points in 33 games played, with 13 goals and 18 assists.
With all the success that Scott has had at college, he got the chance to play at IIHF World Junior Championship tournament for team USA. The tournament puts the best hockey players under 20 years old together to compete for their country.
As exhibition games started for the men’s tournament, it was announced that the Under-18 Women’s World Championship was going to be canceled. A lot of people were voicing their disappointment about the cancellation of the tournament on social media, but for Scott the cancellation was a bit more personal for him. His younger sister, Sydney, an Ohio State hockey commit, and current Shattuck player was on the roster for the Under-18 women’s team. Scott took to social media to encourage his followers to sign a petition to get the under-18 women to play the tournament.
“I think the fact that Scott stepped up and voiced his opinion and was willing to stand out there and say, ‘hey this is unfair’ was a very proud moment for I think myself and my wife,” Steve said. “That to me is the kind of kid he is.”
Scott played in the exhibition game against Finland, but team USA lost 4-3 in overtime. He didn’t play in the next game due to a shoulder injury, and then the team had to forfeit their next game due to COVID-19.
“I feel like if I went in fully healthy it would have been a different experience. I’m the type of kid who’s really always been confident in myself so I was ready whenever I would get the chance to get in to play my game,” Scott said.
After that game was forfeited, the IIHF Council made the decision to cancel the championship for the health and safety of players. The IIHF left the door open to revisit the championship over the summer, but for now Scott will have to wait a few more months to put on the team USA sweater.
Scott quickly returned to UMass and continued his tear through Hockey East.
With the start Scott has had many people have wondered what the next step for him is. He could make the jump to the NHL season after one season or follow Makar’s blueprint and take a second year to develop his body and game further. That decision will come after the 2021-22 season, though, Scott has other goals to focus on before considering his future.
“I’m just trying to focus on my day-to-day here,” Scott says about the thought of the NHL. “At the end of the day what really matters is the work I put in and the fact that I can continue to get better because I am not in NHL right now.”
Kayla Gregoire can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kaygregoire.
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