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‘It seemed like a great fit’: Forward Sam Morton has been a perfect fit for the Wranglers

Sam Morton grew up in California and from a very early age, hockey was a big part of his life. 

Morton says it was a family thing.

“My dad built a roller rink a couple of blocks away from my house,” the 24-year-old said.

“So my brother, dad and I would be out there every day and just kind of fell in love with it there and ten started playing ice at like six years old.”

“Everyday I’d get home from school and I’d ask my dad if we could shoot pucks or go play roller hockey.  I got competitive with my older brother and that’s good for development you know competing with your older brother.”

Signed with the Flames

After finished his college career at Minnesota State U-Mankato in March, the 24-year-old forward signed a free agent contract with the Flames.

Minnesota St. forward Sam Morton (6) skates against the Bowling Green during an NCAA hockey game on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, in Bowling Green, Ohio. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

He agreed to a one year, two-way deal for the 2024-2025 season and he agreed to joins the AHL’s Wranglers for the rest of the season on a tryout agreement. 

Morton believes it was a good choice.

“They had some opportunity available and it seemed like a great fit,” he said.

“The style that we play here in Calgary is similar to the style they played in Mankato so game wise it felt like a good fit.  The city is awesome, the fans are unbelievable and there’s just not much going wrong here in Calgary.”

Pleasant surprise

In 13 regular season games with the Wranglers down the stretch, Morton scored five goals and added two assists.

In two playoff games, he had a goal to help the Wranglers get past the Tucson Roadrunners in the opening round.

Wrangler head coach Trent Cull says Morton has been a pleasant surprise.

“He’s adjusted really well,” said Cull.

“He’s a smart hockey players and we heard good things about him coming out of college.   I think he’s a Hobey Baker finalist (top 10) so obviously he was a good player in college.  For us the timing was great too. 

“We were short bodies,” Cull added, “and he came in and took advantage of the numbers and found himself a home.”

Top six forward

With the Wranglers, Morton is playing top six minutes.  He’s centering a line with Adam Klapka and William Stromgren who says Morton has been a great fit.

“It’s great,” said the rookie forward.

“He makes plays and he’s a quick guy so the game goes on with good speed and good play so yeah, I just like him.”

Setting up the second round

The Wranglers will go up against the top-ranked team in the AHL’s Pacific Division, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, in the second round of the playoffs.

Morton is looking forward to a great series and hopefully pulling off another upset.

“Do or die hockey is the best,” Morton said.

“When you have a chance to send a team home and you also have that kind of fear behind you of going home it means a lot more,” he said.  “The sacrifice increases, the intensity increases and that just makes it more fun.”

The Wranglers open up the second round against Coachella Valley starting on Friday night. 

Puck drop is a little after 7:00 pm.

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