Late Northland blueliner Morgan was ‘a hockey player’s hockey player’

Chris MorganNorthland hockey player Max Glashauser received heartbreaking news in a phone call from his head coach last Sunday.

Glashauser learned in the call with Seamus Gregory that one of his closest friends on the team was dead at the age of 22.

Chris Morgan was killed in a tragic hit-and-run accident while walking home from a graduation party Aug. 5 in his hometown of Rochester Hills, Mich.

According to reports from WXYZ in Detroit, the body of the Lumberjacks defenseman was found in a ditch around 11:30 a.m. the following morning.

On the afternoon of Aug. 10, with the shock still fresh and the pain still real, Glashauser took a few minutes of his time to do a phone interview with and share his feelings on the loss of Morgan.

“My stomach and heart just dropped,” Glashauser said. “It still doesn’t feel real.”

Gregory was out of town visiting family when he received a call from Morgan’s dad Sunday.

“It’s been a difficult couple of days,” Gregory said during a phone interview Aug. 8. “I’m still trying to get my head around what is taking place. It’s been difficult on all of the guys, the members of our school community. It’s never easy when something like this happens.”

Despite the sadness and shock he was dealing with, Gregory knew he had to personally call each one of his players.

“Those are phone calls no coach wants to make but has to make,” Gregory said. “The phone calls were very hard, but we are a family and our administration and the school community has been very supportive.”

Though the players are scattered at the moment because all of them are on summer vacation, Gregory said technology has helped them all keep in touch during a difficult time.

“We’ve had interaction with our players, via FaceTime and via text, and we have a huge group text going on right now to keep in touch with each other,” Gregory said. “The toughest part will be when September comes around, but we’ll pull together even more.”

Northland made its counseling and student peer services available immediately to anyone who may need it, and Gregory said the administration and school community has been supportive.

Glashauser, who hails from Texas, wasn’t able to attend the visitation and funeral. But he said that having his teammates to text back and forth with has been helpful.

“We can’t be around each other right now to provide support, but we have our group text, and we’re all supporting each other through that. We are just letting everyone know we are there for each other.”

Morgan was less than a month away from beginning his junior year at Northland. He was less than three months away from beginning a new hockey season and helping the Lumberjacks build off their surprising success of a year ago.

Gregory said Morgan was an integral part of the rise of the program, which won 11 games this past season after winning only seven a year earlier. Morgan played in 34 games in his two seasons at Northland.

“He didn’t put up a lot of points, but when you needed a guy to shut down, when you needed a guy with a minute to go, he was the guy you wanted on the ice,” Gregory said. “He was a hockey player’s hockey player and the cornerstone of our blue line. He helped us win a lot of one-goal games the last two years.”

Glashauser called Morgan one of the hardest working players on the team.

“He always worked hard and he was the kind of player who held himself accountable,” Glashauser said. “He was extremely strong and a great teammate.”

Gregory said Morgan stuck around Ashland over the summer, holding a job at a fitness center and at a local company in town. So he saw the work ethic Morgan had even in the offseason.

Gregory also shared a story about Morgan and his workout routine.

“He was always the first one at practice and he was even given a key to the arena to lock up at night because he would stay late,” Gregory said. “He was a fierce competitor and built himself into an everyday player. He was a fantastic human being from a fantastic family.”

The team does plan to honor him in some way this season, and Gregory said he will work with the family on the most appropriate way to do that.

Glashauser said he and his teammates plan to keep him in their thoughts throughout the season and put their best effort forward each day in honor of him.

“We’re definitely going to dedicate this season to him,” Glashauser said. “We’re going to play hard and we know he’ll be watching over us. We want to have the best season we can for him.”