Darien Boy's hockey

Hank Morgan: Darien Alumni

More by Michael Borecki - 3/15


r. Hank Morgan is one of our school’s most loyal boys hockey fans. After playing defense for three years he graduated from DHS in 1956 and continued as a student athlete at Harvard. Hank remembers starting his high school career on the Darien hockey team,  learning to skate on Gorum’s pond.  From his first couple of steps onto the ice Morgan knew right away that hockey would be one of his passions for the rest of his life. The daily ice slots that we take for granted were not common back when Morgan was playing. Before the Wave could get their practice in, they had to serve as their own zambonis, shoveling off several inches or sometimes even a foot of snow from the frozen pond before they could use it.  When the ice was decent enough to skate on, Morgan would skate on the pond from seven in the morning to late evening practicing his skating and puck handling. “It was a completely different experience than what it is now,” said Morgan. Although most of their practice took place on the ponds due to a low budget, they would be granted practice time on real ice once a week on Crystal Rink in Norwalk. This is definitely a change from the abundant amount of ice time on the well-kept ices of Darien Ice House and Stamford Twin Rinks.

During my interview there was plenty of things that stood out as different between me and Morgan’s experiences. For example the price of equipment like other things has increased tremendously. Hank remembers buying his Northland Pro hockey sticks for fifteen dollars and kangaroo skin skates for twenty. Skates and sticks now could come to a combined total of a grand.

Blue Wave hockey was not always the “big deal” that it is now. Few people attended their games, and Morgan said, “the girls certainly weren’t as crazy about it”. As he became older he would bring his girlfriend to the game, and then afterwards he would go with his buddies to a bar (back then the drinking age was eighteen). Hank is amazed by how drastically the game has changed. “The strength, speed, and skill of high school players is amazing,” he said. “There was also not such a big emphasis on weight training,” said morgan, “no one really worked out.”

Due to the lack of facemasks and even visors, high sticking was minimal, hitting certainly was not. Although high sticking was not that recurring that didnt  mean that flying pucks and bodies didn’t cause some damage.  Morgan would constantly be scratched up and had to get stitches certainly more than once. “I loved to hit,” said Morgan. During his high school career, Morgan also played football, and the contact within football definitely helped him in hockey. Maybe a little too much. Later, at Harvard, he set the record for the most penalty minutes on the team.

Out of all the accomplishments during Hank’s career including including being elected the captain and selected to play in the high school All-star game, Hank’s most memorable experience was winning the championship his freshman year with his team. His love for hockey certainly has not died and has definetly felt that his participation in hockey has taught him how to be tough and understand the value of hardwork. His love for hockey has not died and he believes that it never will. This season, he attended several Blue Wave hockey games and loves cheering on Harvard at their games as well.

If you want to read more about the traditions of hockey, check out this article.