One of Greg Morrison’s biggest challenges is making the sun come out.
In addition to dealing with what Mother Nature sends his way, the MHC alumnus, former minor league baseball player, and owner of the Medicine Hat Mavericks is responsible for putting a quality team on the field, packing the park, signing sponsorship deals, and managing staff – not to mention working in his soft tissue practice, mentoring a new generation of athletes, and finding time for family.
“Sport, movement, business – I try to follow my passions,” says Morrison. “Variety is the spice of life.”
In the early 1990s, the athletic teenager went from playing on his high school baseball team, to joining Team Alberta and Team Canada, to rubbing shoulders with major leaguers all within a few weeks. In 1993 he was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and played on their farm team for two years.
“I was pretty awestruck. There weren’t a lot of Canadians in the big leagues at that time and to be drafted like that, to get a chance, was pretty exciting. I was very lucky to have that opportunity,” recalls Morrison, who ended up playing in the minors for 12 years with the Dodgers and Blue Jays ball clubs.
Strongly encouraged by his parents and grandmother to pursue an education in the off season, he enrolled at Medicine Hat College in the fitness leadership program and eventually finished a kinesiology degree at the University of Calgary (UCalgary). He returned to Medicine Hat in 2007 with his wife TeNeil, also an alumna of MHC and UCalgary, who now teaches nursing at the college.
“I love the college and always have warm feelings when I go back now. It’s growing and changing. It is the future,” says Morrison. He completed the massage therapy program at MHC in 2012 to complement his kinesiology background.
With the launch of his clinic and the purchase of the Mavericks baseball team, Morrison was able to bring his two passions together.
“If kinesiology is the study of movement, and sports are a combination of movement and mental focus, how do you separate the two?” asks Morrison.
A great example of this blend of his clinical practice, which focuses on sport performance and injury rehabilitation, and his love for the game of baseball is his work with the Vauxhall High School Baseball Academy. In addition to treating injuries, Morrison is able to act as a mentor for these young athletes, some of whom are also members of Team Canada.
But it’s not only the athletic aspect of his careers that Morrison loves. He is also fascinated by the business side of operations.
“I’m a glutton for knowledge. I try to educate myself on business, leadership, and culture,” says Morrison, who is always looking for continuing education opportunities at MHC to complement his business acumen.
As a result of his constant efforts to grow the ball club, the Mavericks have consistently made it to the post-season and their fan base has nearly tripled since he took the reins.
“I’m big on team culture, whether it’s in the front office or on the field. A lot of that depends on communication with everyone,” explains Morrison. His management style is to lead by example and ensure everyone feels comfortable bringing their ideas forward.
“I tell our staff and players ‘there isn’t a toilet in this ball park I haven’t cleaned.’ If they see that you’ve done the work it helps pull everyone in the same direction a little quicker.”
He’s also big on creating a great experience for fans and is always looking for feedback. Better food, theme nights, patio parties, contests, and Monty the mascot are just a few of the ideas implemented by Morrison and his team to provide fun and affordable entertainment for the whole family.
As a ball player, he still remembers proud moments and big wins – playing for Team Canada, beating Team USA in the Pan Am Games and bringing home the bronze medal, winning championship rings, or simply hitting a great home run – but it’s the family side of sport that has always mattered most to Morrison and it’s that kind of culture he wants for his ball club.“I’m always learning. It’s been very challenging but when you love it, it doesn’t feel like work.”