With a baby on the way and a business about to take off, Scott Morrow is ready to begin life after hockey.
The Augusta Lynx captain said Friday that he is retiring after 11 pro seasons, which includes four games in the National Hockey League with the Calgary Flames in 1994-95.
"It's just time to go on to the next chapter, I guess," said the 32-year-old Morrow, the third captain in team history. "Family is a big part of it, being home with my wife and the baby. But it's also a chance to try to run a business full time and try and make it a success. I know I can't play hockey forever, so it just seemed like now was the time to call it quits."
In his two seasons with the Lynx, Morrow established himself as the premier power forward in the East Coast Hockey League, averaging 31 goals, 80 points and 137 penalty minutes per season.
Morrow finished sixth in the ECHL with 86 points on 33 goals and 53 assists in 2000-01 and was the club's leading scorer in each of his two seasons.
"From the hash marks in, he's the best forward in the league, hands down," Lynx coach Jim Burton said. "He was a dominating player down low and could probably continue to have a few more good years. But he decided to hang them up and go into business. We obviously wish him the best."
Even though Burton said there was no guarantee the Lynx would re-sign Morrow for next season, the news caught the Lynx coach and general manager Mike Pierson by surprise.
"We were blindsided when he came in to tell us this morning," Pierson said. "There was some uncertainty as far as Mo's status for next year with the possibility of an affiliation and our veteran situation. But Mo said he was ready to do what was best for his family and start life in the real world. He's been a big part of this organization, and hopefully he will continue to be, one way or another."
Morrow says that is certainly a possibility, now that he and his wife, Mikell - a kindergarten teacher at North Harlem Elementary - have made Augusta their permanent home.
"Hockey brought us here, and we plan on staying here because we love it here and have met a lot of nice people through hockey and school," Morrow said. "The people here have been wonderful to us, and I can't say thank you enough to everyone."
Along with fatherhood on the horizon, Morrow is excited about taking his new business to the next level. Fans of the cult hockey classic Slapshot will recognize the name of Morrow's company, Old Iron League, which will produce and market metal-cast specialty items such as Lynx logo keychains and personalized door pulls.
"My brother-in-law does this in Dallas, and the last couple of years I've gotten involved and have learned a bit about the business," Morrow said. "The plan is to get a local factory here and then talk to the people at the Masters and the Asahi Ryokuken and the Futurity and local sports teams about creating merchandise for them. There's a big market for it here in Augusta, and hopefully we can tap into it a little."
As for a return to hockey down the road, Morrow is leaving the door open.
"Coaching is something I always wanted to do, and it's kind of what I wanted when I came here two years ago," Morrow said. "You never know what will happen. Jimmy could move on at some point, and there could be an opportunity there. I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to be in the area. So who knows?"
With Morrow and Guy Larose - whom Burton said would not be back next season - out of the picture, the Lynx now have five veterans to consider for four spots next season: defensemen David Wilkie, Wes Swinson and Joe Vandermeer and forwards Jim Shepherd and Tyler Willis.
Burton said his plans for next season remain on hold as the Lynx try to put the finishing touches on an affiliation with the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.
"We can't really do anything until that happens," Burton said. "Hopefully we'll know soon and move forward."