Surrounded By Family, Travis Morin Sends Jersey to the Rafters

(Credit: Mollie Kendall/Texas Stars)

Travis Morin put an exclamation point on a long and successful career on Saturday night as his jersey was raised to the rafters as he has done everything in his pro career: with the support of his family.

"I wouldn't be anywhere without them," Morin told 100 Degree Hockey in the player tunnel as Saturday night wound to a close. "They're as big a part of this as I am."

Every single time Morin had a chance to jump somewhere else in the league, he didn't. He has talked about how he wanted to be comfortable and felt like being comfortable would lead him to play his best hockey. And that's clearly true, as he retired being the Stars leader in games played, goals, assists, and points (in both playoffs and regular season), leading the team in scoring in five of his ten seasons.

But you can't discount the potential career sacrifices that Morin made to keep his growing family stable. Family was a theme that was evident in the video tributes that many former Stars made to Morin throughout the game. Maxime Fortunus, Luke Gazdic and Toby Petersen all mentioned the importance of family to the retiring forward. Morin was told there would be tributes but didn't know who would send in videos, "It was great seeing those guys I haven't seen in awhile. It means a lot because those are your peers talking about you that way. It definitely means a lot because when you're playing, you hope you're impacting other people's lives on the team."

Before the season started at media day, Morin talked about how strange it was to him that fans were coming up and thanking him for what he did with Texas. "If anything," he said, "I should be thanking you!" Morin's level of commitment to one franchise is incredibly rare in the modern era. No one has played as many games with one AHL team (686) in 45 years. The last to reach such high heights was Ralph Keller, who played 737 with Hershey ending in 1974.

(Credit: Mollie Kendall/Texas Stars)

"I kind of thought it was a rarity, but I didn't know it was that rare!," said Morin. He's not sure if anyone will achieve the feat again soon as players have so many more options now, whether that's the other 30 AHL teams or the multitude of European leagues now available.

"You never know. It comes down to the person and what they're looking for. I always thought my best opportunity was to be here where I was comfortable instead of uprooting my family and dealing with all the extra steps. It'll be tough to pass at this level because guys are always looking to move up and after a while most guys start thinking about Europe.

"It'll be hard to [do], but records are meant to be broken."

And so, surrounded by his wife, Lindsey, and sons, Andrew, Lucas and Bradley, a slightly misty-eyed Morin watched his number 23, a completely random jersey assignment when he signed as a rookie PTO in 2009, be retired. Never to be worn again.

"[My family] allowed me to do this and supported me through it. Without them, I don't know what would have happened. So it's as much their night as my night, and it couldn't have been any better, celebrating it with them."

Read more coverage of Travis Morin's retirement here.