Dentist tries drills on the ice

October 11, 1994|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

Pete Morrow insists that his efforts to latch on with the Richmond Renegades of the East Coast Hockey League have nothing do with the fact that next summer he will complete his training as an orthodontist.

The 29-year-old Federal Hill resident isn't looking for future patients. He's simply trying to fulfill a childhood dream.

"Since I was 10, I always wanted to be an orthodontist and I wanted to play professional hockey and I set my goals at doing both," said Morrow, who recently returned from Richmond, Va., where he and Catonsville resident Pete Iannacone participated in a four-day tryout camp. "I've always played hockey for the love of the game, never for a paycheck."

Unlike Morrow, Iannacone is looking for a paycheck. He expected to earn one playing right wing or center for the Renegades in "The Freezer," formally known as the Richmond Coliseum, but instead will earn his money playing in the Sunshine Hockey League after being traded to a franchise in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"I'm going to try and take this sport as far as I can go with it," said Iannacone, 25, a native of Detroit. "It's always been a big dream of mine growing up to do what I love to do for a living."

Because of a demanding schedule that includes classes, labs and work as a general dentist, Morrow will only serve as a part-time goaltender for the Renegades, on call for weekend games.

"When they need a goalie, they know they can give me a call and I'll be down there in three hours," said Morrow, who played three exhibition games for the New Jersey Devils in 1987 before being sent down to the Utica Devils of the American Hockey League.

When things didn't work out with the Devils, Morrow bounced around, playing for the Virginia Lancers and Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL before heading to Kentucky, where he completed a four-year dental program at the University of Louisville while playing with an ECHL expansion team, the Louisville Icehawks.

Now, Morrow finds himself nine months away from completing the third and final year of the postgraduate orthodontic program at the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

With such a background, why would he want to subject himself to a puck traveling toward him at high speeds? "I love the game, and this league [the ECHL] has come a long way," said Morrow.

"It used to be straight out of the pages of 'Slap Shot,' but now it's a very legitimate minor league where players can step from this level to the NHL in some time.

"Basically, the players are former professional and NCAA Division I players who are out in the real world but still enjoy full-check, drop-your-gloves-type hockey."

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