Introducing Sam Morton of the Minnesota State men’s hockey team

Sam Morton is leading the Mavericks in points this season.
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 3:00 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 31, 2022 at 7:56 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The No. 8 Minnesota State men’s hockey program is climbing up the national ranks after sweeping Bowling Green over the weekend. So far, it’s been senior forward Sam Morton leading the offense with six goals and two assists on the year. KEYC News Now’s Mary Rominger sat down with Sam Morton.

Mary Rominger: After starting off the season on a five-game point streak, everyone wants to know who Sam Morton is, alternate captain on the Minnesota State Maverick men’s hockey team. Sam, tell us a little bit about your journey to get with Minnesota State. I’m sure a long, extensive hockey related journey to land with one of the top teams in Division I.

Sam Morton: Yeah, it definitely took me a little bit. One of my friends who I played with at Wenatchee came here, Lucas Sowder. So, he definitely played a role in eventually ending up here and finding my home here, but a couple of years in Wenatchee, went to a different school in New York, went back to Wenatchee, and then eventually found my way here.

MR: Give us insight to when you were younger — and you started playing hockey in Colorado, right — what was your journey into putting on the skates for the first time and discovering what it was to be a hockey player.

SM: So, I grew up in California until I was 13, and my dad’s a hockey fanatic. He loves it, so he actually built a roller rink a couple miles, not even probably a mile from my house in California. So we would just bike over there and play roller hockey all the time and then when I was about six years old, I started playing ice hockey for one of the local programs. I played just A-B-A hockey up until I was 13, and then when I moved out to Colorado, I joined the Thunderbirds Triple A program in Colorado. Then, played for the Rough Riders for a year and then went back to the Thunderbirds and then found a way here.

MR: Looking back to what you’ve had to overcome to reach this point, that makes starting off your senior year as strong as you have, that much more special?

SM: When I was 16 years old, I got cut from the 16 AAA team and ended up playing 18. So, that was kind of a little bit of fuel in the fire just from youth hockey. Then, obviously the past couple of years, just being as close as we’ve been to a national championship and falling a little bit short, that’s definitely a little bit of motivation and something that fuels your fire, I think, as a collective group.

MR: Entering what is now conference play for you guys, how do you feel about the outcome of what was the non-conference schedule against three really tough in-state rivals and nationally ranked programs?

SM: Obviously we went up against some tough competitors, but we wanted to do better. Obviously, we want to be 6-0, but I mean, 3-3, it is what it is. We have to be really good in our conference this year and make sure we don’t throw any more points away our kind of shoot ourselves in the foot, if that makes sense. Just try to play our game and get as many points as possible.

MR: Last question, as an alternate captain on this team, what have you done to try and be a leader with this program, especially having played behind some of the great leaders that came before and helped lead this program to a couple of deep runs in the national tournament?

SM: The past couple of years, just watching and learning from them, trying to digest what I think helps our team and helps me. Really just set a good example and be inclusive with guys, try to help guys that are struggling and just kind of show guys the right way to do things.