Morozoff bigger and stronger following off-season training
Clearly, Alex Morozoff took his off-season training seriously.
The Red Deer Rebels centre packed on 15 pounds of muscle during the summer and will head into his first full Western Hockey League season next month as a legitimate power forward.
“I was working out five times a week and skating two to three times a week,” the 17-year-old Saskatoon native said Monday after notching a goal for Team Black in a 9-2 loss to Team White in a main camp scrimmage at the Centrium.
“Really, it was eating well, working out and skating. I thought if I could put on some weight it would really help me out this year. I put on some good pounds.
“There was lots of on-ice stuff too. I even played in a local rec league just to get some experience playing against some older guys.”
Morozoff, who now carries 185 pounds on his six-foot-frame, has been impressive in training camp and has drawn rave reviews from Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter.
“He’s put on some muscle, he’s gotten bigger and stronger,” said Sutter. “You can tell he’s stronger on his skates, he’s harder on pucks. He’s a bigger, stronger guy now.”
Morozoff also possesses a healthy dose of talent and hockey smarts, which should pay off big-time for the Rebels this season and down the road.
“His pace is so much higher now than it was as a 16-year-old,” said Sutter. “The thing I’ve said about ‘Mo’ all along is he’s got so much skill. He has such good presence with his skill set. He can make plays, he can shoot, he has good hands.
“And what he’s learned now is how to play on both sides of the puck. He’s been really good in camp on the defensive side of it too.”
Morozoff was selected by the Rebels in the seventh round — 149th overall — of the 2016 WHL bantam draft and attended Red Deer’s training camp last year.
He was reassigned to the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts in late September and made steady progress while potting 15 goals and collecting 25 points in 27 games.
In mid-November, Brent Sutter received an update on Morozoff courtesy of Rebels assistant GM/director of player personnel Shaun Sutter, director of scouting/player development Randy Peterson and the team’s Saskatoon-based scout, Thomas Miller.
“They were telling me he was really starting to come,” said the Rebels boss.
And then, in December, there was the Calgary Mac’s midget tournament, in which Morozoff truly came of age, putting up a tournament-best 13 points in four games for the Contacts while being named most valuable player of the prestigious competition and a first-team all-star.
The Rebels signed him soon after and Morozoff made his WHL debut in his hometown in early January, scoring once in a 3-2 loss to the Blades.
“That first game in Saskatoon, you could just tell that his skill sets were really high and that he had lots of confidence,” said Sutter. “We played him in some key situations last season and he went home and trained like a pro this summer. Now he’s bigger and stronger.”
Morozoff went on to play 30 regular-season games with the Rebels and finished with six goals and two assists before adding a single helper in three playoff outings.
“It was awesome to get that experience, get a taste of the league,” he said. “Now, coming into this year I really know what to expect and I can get right into it.”
Morozoff hasn’t set any personal goals for the upcoming season, at least none that he wants to make public.
“Just take it day by day and see where it takes me,” he stated.
He is, however, confident that the Rebels will be an improved team in 2018-19.
“Everyone is looking good in camp and as we continue to grow together everything will start to gel a lot better,” he said. “We have a bright future here and I think we’ll have a good year this year.”
° Brandon Hagel, Chris Douglas, Arshdeep Bains and River Fahey each scored twice for Team White in the main camp scrimmage Monday. Jacob Herauf also tallied for the winners while Reese Johnson notched the other Team Black marker.
Training camp resumes Tuesday and will officially conclude with Wednesday’s 7 p.m. Black and White game.
Main camp rosters
(Includes year of birth and hometown; x-returnee)
Goal — Byron Fancy (2001), Claresholm; Carter Serhyenko (’02), Saskatoon.
Defence — x-Hunter Donohoe (’00), Surrey, B.C.; x-Colin Paradis (’98), Sherwood Park; Ryan Gottfried (’01), Winnipeg; x-Dawson Barteaux (’00), Foxwarren, Man.; Jace Isley (’02), Grande Prairie; x-Ethan Sakowich (’99), Athabasca.
Forwards — x-Josh Tarzwell (’00), Red Deer; x-Reese Johnson (’98, Saskatoon; Jordan Borysiuk (’02), Manville; x-Austin Schellenberg (’00), Grande Prairie; x-Alex Morozoff (’01), Saskatoon; Jeff de Wit (’98), Red Deer; x-Zak Smith (’01), Austin, Man.; Jayden McCarthy (’01), Morris, Man.; x-Justin Svenson (’01), Ile Des Chenes, Man.; Garrett Valk (’02), North Vancouver.
Goal — x-Ethan Anders (’00), Pilot Butte, Sask.
Defence — x-Alex Alexeyev (’99), St. Petersburg, Russia; Nic Draffin (’01), Lethbridge; x-Carson Sass (’99), Melville, Sask.; x-Sam Pouliot (’00), North Vancouver; Chase Leslie (’02), Camrose; x-Jacob Herauf (’00), Sherwood Park.
Forwards — x-Brandon Hagel (’98), Morinville; Oleg Zaytsev (’01), Moscow, Russia; Jayden Grubbe (’03), Calgary; Blake Sydlowski (’01), St. Albert; x-Chris Douglas (’00), Richmond, B.C.; x-Arshdeep Bains (’01), Surrey, B.C.; x-River Fahey (;01), Campbell River, B.C.; Ethan Rowland (;02), Calgary; x-Brandon Cutler (’00), Spruce Grove; Jaxson Wiebe (;02), Moose Jaw.
Rookie camp rosters
(Includes year of birth and hometown; x-draft pick; y-listed; z-invited)
Goal — x-Zane Winter (2003), Carlyle, Sask.; z-Nolan McDowell (’03), Edmonton.
Defence — x-Blake Gustafson (’02), Ardrossan, Alta.; z-Quintin Unreiner (’03), Medicine Hat; x-Trey Patterson (’03), Calgary; y-Jordan Edwards (’02), Saskatoon; y-Connor Klassen (’03), Crooked Creek, Alta.; y-Mason Ward (’02), Lloydminster.
Forwards — z-Evan Forest (’03), Spruce Grove; x-Dylan Fader (’03), Vancouver; z-Ethan Matthews (’02), Calgary; z-Nicholas Steciuk (’02), Regina; y-Keaton Sorensen (’02), Red Deer; x-Josh Medernach (’03), Lloydminster; z-Simon Pollock (’03), Victoria; z-Hezekiah Mbaja (’03), Fort McMurray; z-Riley Borody (’03), Portage la Prairie, Man.; z-Jordan Saunders (’02), Olds; z-Austin Berezowski (’03), Humboldt, Sask.; z-Zach Cain (’02), Pilot Butte, Sask.
Goal — x-Dylan Lacroix (’03), Calgary; z-Owen Anderson (’03), Calgary.
Defence — x-Anthony Williams (;02), Trail, B.C.; x-Kyle Masters (;03), Edmonton; y-Skyler Cameron (’02), Nanaimo, B.C.; z-Matthew Quebec (’03), Okotoks; z-Boris Protsenko (’02), Calgary; x-Jeremy Hancock (;03), Melfort, Sask.
Forwards — z-Foxx Doell (’03), Blackfalds; x-Nick de Beurs (;02), Cochrane; z-Nathan Flodell (’03), Prince Albert; z-Kaiden Korolchuk (’03), Quill Lake, Sask.; y-Jamie Valentino (’02), Thompson, Man.; x-Hunter Brown (’03), Fort St. John, B.C.; z-Liam Hughes (’03), Edmonton; z-Ryan Chambers (’03), Drayton Valley; z-Kaiden Tocher (’03), Esterhazy, Sask.; z-Andrew Alonzo (’03), Bonney Lake, Wash.; z-Connor Poffenroth (’03), Okotoks; z-Jackson Smith (’03), Regina; z-Davis Chorney (’02), Tisdale, Sask.