COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Pennsylvania is the gold-medal state it was announced today by The USA Hockey Foundation in wrapping up its “Paint America Red, White and Blue” fundraising campaign that spanned the month of December.
The Keystone State's 32 donations led the nation, thus giving it the gold-medal designation. Michigan was not far behind with 27 donors and Massachusetts finished third with 24 donations. Contributions also came from newer hockey markets, including Louisiana, Alabama and South Carolina. In total, some 300 people took part with more than $40,000 raised to benefit the continued advancement of hockey in the United States.
“We couldn’t be more thankful to those that participated in this very first Paint America Red, White and Blue campaign,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey and The USA Hockey Foundation. “The contributions received will help further opportunities in the sport at all levels and we are so appreciative of every single gift.”
The USA Hockey Foundation supports USA Hockey efforts that provide opportunities to disabled and disadvantaged youth; help increase participation through a variety of initiatives; enhance the safety of the game; help the U.S. be the best internationally; provide education programs for athletes, coaches, officials and parents; and celebrate the game through commemoration.
It's been often said hockey is a lifelong game. For some that means they continue to lace up the skates decades after there are any fans in the stands. For some it means they give back by coaching, officiating or volunteering. For others the lifelong connection is through the network of teammates, friends and life lessons learned along the way; a bridge of sorts that keeps them closely connected to the sport in the business world. USA Hockey recently caught up with 1968 Olympian Jack Morrison, who continues to find success off the ice, long after he received his accolades on the ice.
When you see Jack Morrison these days, he has the contented look of a life well-lived.
Morrison, a Minneapolis native who played on the 1968 Olympic team in Grenoble, France, was the only American to be among the top 10 scorers (tied for eighth) in the tournament, registering two goals and six assists in seven games. In 1967, he completed an illustrious collegiate career at current NCAA champion, Yale University, where he was named first-team All-American East as well as first-team All ECAC his senior year.
He left Yale as its all-time leading scorer, with 51 goals and 68 assists for 119 points.
“When I look back on that period of my life, it was an honor to be mentioned in the same company with players like Ken Dryden and Jerry York (who were fellow All-Americans), and, of course, to be an Olympian,” Morrison said. “Due to the Vietnam War, we were unpopular among the French crowds. The Czechs and Russians were actually more well-received. We had a fantastic team and probably could have fared better. It was a terrific experience nevertheless.”
Following amateur athletics, Morrison attended Harvard Business School and, after a stint with Kidder Peabody, went to work for the Pillsbury Company, where he rose to the position of Executive Vice President and President, Pillsbury Consumer Foods Group. After the company was acquired by Grand Met (now Diageo), he decided to join three longtime associates to form Goldner, Hawn, Johnson & Morrison, which quickly became a highly successful private equity firm.
Morrison received an extraordinary opportunity to wear a different Team USA uniform, when, in the middle of his presidency, former college classmate, George W. Bush, requested that he serve on OPIC (the Overseas Private Investment Corporation) and, later, PFIAB (the Presidential Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board), overtures he happily obliged.
While his sense of duty to country is longstanding, Morrison has also maintained an enduring commitment to Minnesota, which has been home to he and Chris, his wife of 46 years, since 1975.
He and his son, Jeb, have invested in a handful of small Minnesota companies and Morrison has been a longtime director at Andersen Corporation (Bayport, Minn.) and Hormel Corporation (Austin, Minn.).
Jeff Ettinger, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer at Hormel Foods, is quick in his praise.
"Jack Morrison has been an outstanding member of the Hormel Foods Board of Directors since 2004,” Ettinger said. “He is a man of broad interests and experience, from his Pillsbury days, to other boards, to the Bush White House, to his hockey connections, to his private equity success. He brings both business sense and common sense to his role as lead director with our company."
Jay Lund also lauded Morrison’s contributions and character.
"Jack was one of Andersen’s first outside directors,” said Lund, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Andersen Corporation. “Over his 16-plus years on our board, he has helped guide our company through a major business transformation and the most severe recession in the housing industry since the Great Depression. As Lead Director, he has been a mentor and friend for me and a great ambassador for our company."
Although numerous exciting opportunities have come Morrison's way since his playing days, his family and friends, above all else, are his abundance. Kelly, his daughter, resides in Minnetonka and Jeb is close by in Hopkins. They each have three children, which makes him one busy grandfather – as five of his six grandchildren play organized hockey.
It's an identity that suits him though and, in his eyes, the most enjoyable "jersey" he's ever worn.
“I love the game and have always been most comfortable when I’m on the ice,” Morrison said. “The only thing better than that is watching my grandchildren play.”