Morris Titanic

Morris Titanic was drafted by Buffalo in the 1st round, 12th overall in 1973, two spots ahead of Rick Middleton.

It turned out to be the wrong choice, as Middleton went on to a long NHL career. But, hey, at the time Buffalo's GM Punch Imlach had a real streak going. His previous 1st round choices had been Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin and Jim Schoenfeld, three players who went on to play a total of 2823 NHL games, scoring 2454 points.

Morris only managed to play 19 games in the big league. He played 17 games for Buffalo in 1974-75 and 2 games in 1975-76, not scoring a single point. Because of Buffalo's fine drafting the previous seasons the pressure on the 20-year old winger was substantial.

Titanic had just completed a fine All-Star season for the Sudbury Wolves where he scored 121 points - including 61 goals - in 63 games. Before that Morris had played for the Niagara Falls Flyers.

Back in 1973 when Morris was picked in the 1st round it wasn't much of a big deal like today. At the draft day Morris was working at a gas station in Niagara Falls. His landlady came over to him and told him that he had been picked 12th overall by Buffalo. Later that day Punch Imlach called him and asked him how much money he wanted. Today the media scrutiny is enormous on the potential 1st round draft picks during draft day and player agents are swirling around their clients like sharks.

Morris' cool name Titanic is Ukrainian. His father emigrated to Toronto with his parents as a little child. Morris bad fortune was that he got a nagging back problem in his second professional season. After a back operation Morris almost had to quit hockey. A spinal fusion operation forced him to go through two years of rehabilitation.

When Morris came back at the start of the 1977-78 season he went on to play in the AHL and IHL. He scored a fine 70 points in 75 games for the Milvaukee Admirals in the IHL 1978-79. But early in the 1979-80 season he tore up his knee while playing for the Rochester Americans in the AHL and his playing days were over.

He had to quit at only 27-years old. He went on to coach at the Junior B levels before finally pursuing a career outside the hockey rink as a salesman in 1985.


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