Travis Morin didn’t expect much when he first got to Cedar Park more than 10 years ago. But all the memories he earned and records he set will never be forgotten.
Morin, the only player to take the ice in each of the first 10 seasons for Texas Stars, was honored Saturday night when his No. 23 was the first hockey number to be retired at the HEB Center.
“I played a game for 10 years of my life, and it was fun, and these people are thanking me,” Morin said. “I go to a meet and greet, and everybody still wants to get a picture with you and tell you how much they appreciated watching you play for 10 years. It’s humbling. It’s hard to put into words. I should be thanking them.”
There were more than 40 friends and family members at the game on Saturday to help honor the most decorated player the AHL franchise has ever seen.
His name is atop the team record books for most majors stats.
He's the Stars' franchise leader with 560 points, 175 goals and 385 assists and 686 games played, which also ranks eighth in AHL history while playing for one team. He led the team in scoring in five of his 10 seasons and is the organization's post-season points leader with 64 points.
Morin helped Texas make it to two Calder Cup finals, lifting the championship in 2014 when he won the AHL MVP, was the league's scoring leader and was named the MVP of the playoffs.
He’s staying with the organization and transitioned to a front-office role working with team outreach as well as an on-ice skills development coach.
“This is what I’ve done for so long, I’m just passing along my knowledge. That’s easy,” Morin said. “Going upstairs into an office setting, that’s a completely different experience. This is the first real job I’ve had in my life.”
Morin said at the end of last season, he was battling a few injuries that delayed his ability to get back in the gym and one the ice. As the summer went on, his mind and body finally said that enough was enough.
He announced his retirement in July.
“It was strange not getting ready for a hockey season,” Morin said. “You get out there and you get that itch, and think you could get out there and do it again. The familiarity with people upstairs and on the ice makes it a lot easier.”
Texas head coach Derek Laxdal, who coached Morin since 2014, said the former captain has turned into an energetic leader during practice that has bridged the gap between the staff and the players.
“In my role, I’m not the guy that has to be serious 100 percent of the time,” Morin said. “I can take the guys aside and point something out that might be more individualized. I can probably have a little more fun with it than the guys that make all the decisions.”
During morning skates, it’s not uncommon to see Morin grab a stick and participate in a shootout pr a different kind of drill.
So is a comeback already on the cards?
“I still think I could play,” Morin said with a smile, “But I’m happy where I’m at, and that’s where I’ll leave it.”