Gary Morris

ImageGary Morris (far left) reaches for the puck. The UBC skater was loaned to the Rossland (B.C.) Warriors for this 1964 exhibition game against his UBC Thunderbirds. The legendary Seth Martin is in goal for the Warriors.

 

Gary Wayne Morris

Born: October 7, 1941 (Trail, British Columbia)
Died: February 23, 2014 (Salmon Arm, British Columbia)

Gary Morris played hockey for the Thunderbirds varsity team at the University of British Columbia while studying engineering. Under coach David Bauer, a Basilian priest who was the brother of NHL star Bobby Bauer of Boston’s Kraut Line, the Thunderbirds recruited four star players from Eastern Canada.

ImageFr. Bauer’s plan was to build a team of student athletes as the core for a national hockey team to compete against the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia at the 1964 Olympics.

The four recruits — Barry McKenzie, Dave Chambers, Terry O’Malley, and goalie Ken Broderick — enrolled as students, giving the varsity team a solid core to play alongside such British Columbia products as Morris. 

In 1962-63, the Thunderbirds tied the Trail Smoke Eaters 1-1 in a preseason game. The Smoke Eaters had won the world championship earlier in the year. (Trail was also the legendary team from Morris’s hometown.) The exhibition tie was an indication the ’Birds would have a solid season.

UBC then beat the Alberta Golden Bears, by 5-2 and 3-2, to claim the Hamber Cup for the first time in 12 seasons.

The Thunderbirds advanced to the first University Cup tournament at Kingston, Ont., defeating the University of Sherbrooke, 6-2, before losing the cup to the McMaster Marlins, by 3-2.

In 1964, many of the UBC players represented at the Olympics, finishing fourth after a controversial ruling by officials. Morris did not play on the Olympic squad. Several of the players also had NHL careers.

The 1962-63 Thunderbirds team was inducted into the university’s sports hall of fame in 2012.

Morris graduated with a civil engineering degree in 1966. He worked on projects in 11 countries, becoming fluent in German, Spanish and French. He was working on Russian language studies at the time of his death. He leaves his wife, Susan Baumgartner; a son; and, a brother.

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