Scott Morrow hasn't touched the ice in a professional game in more than 18 months, but the Augusta Lynx are hoping he can rediscover the form that made him an International League all-star two seasons ago.
Morrow sat out last season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and biceps tendon in May 1999. The 31-year-old injured his shoulder midway through the 1997-98 season, but continued to play hurt for more than a year -- including his all-star season with the Cincinnati Cyclones in 1998-99.
"I was supposed to be out only three, four months after the surgery, but they found out it was a lot more serious," Morrow said. "It cost me a season, and when you're out for a year you start wondering if this is the end."
Now, the end of his playing career no longer seems so near. The former Calgary Flames prospect -- who appeared in four NHL games in 1994-95 -- is excited about his new beginning with the Lynx.
"I heard nothing but great things about the fans and the community before I came here, and that was a big selling point for me as someone looking to settle down and try to start a future," said Morrow, one of several players who spent Saturday afternoon schmoozing with fans at the Lynx's open house at the Civic Center.
"Everyone here is down to earth and pleasant and the people go out of their way to welcome you," he added. "It's been a real pleasant surprise."
Morrow arrived in July from his home in Dallas and quickly immersed himself in the community. He recently moved into a home in Columbia County with his fiancee, and plans to make Augusta his home once his days are over.
Over the summer, Morrow stayed busy doing promotional work for the Lynx, while taking an active role in youth hockey programs at the IceForum. He also played in the IceForum's adult hockey league alongside new coach Scott MacPherson and Lynx teammate Sandy Lamarre.
But along with his fan-friendly persona and penchant for PR, the Chicago native also knows he will be expected to produce on the ice for the Lynx this season, which opens Oct. 13 at home against the rival Greenville Grrrowl.
Morrow is entering his seventh pro season, which includes a 48-goal, 93-point season with the Hershey Bears of the American League in 1995-96.
"Obviously, I've played a number of years and I hope to use that experience to benefit everyone on the team in terms of giving advice," Morrow said. "But I think they also will be looking for some production. I think we're going to have a pretty offensive team, and the fans are going to love it."