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Winnipeg Jets star Josh Morrissey gifts jersey to Central Alberta teen

Russell Barton is a lifelong Winnipeg Jets fan
Russell Barton (third from left) holds up his new Winnipeg Jets jersey that was gifted to him by NHL star Josh Morrissey. His old Jets jersey had to be cut off while he was being treated for a broken collarbone. Three of the people who helped take care of him – Jenny Peterson, Rick Lawrence and William Hall – delivered the jersey to him this past Saturday. (Contributed photo)

NHL All-Star Josh Morrissey gifted an autographed hockey jersey to a Rimbey teen whose previous jersey had to be cut open after he was injured while skiing.

On March 23, 15-year-old Russell Barton was skiing at Canyon Ski Resort in the Red Deer area, when he broke his collarbone.

"I went over a jump – my landing was just kind of off and I fell," Barton explained.

He managed to ski down the hill to the patrol room where he was treated by Canadian Ski Patrol volunteers Barb Steeves, Rick Lawrence and William Hall, as well as Canyon Ski Resort's pro patrol Jenny Peterson.

"They were helping me a lot and making sure I was fine," Barton noted.

The Winnipeg Jeys jersey Barton was wearing at the time had to be cut off so the ski patrollers could assess the severity of his injury, as he was being prepped for an ambulance. He said it was tough to hear his jersey would have to be cut open, but he understood the situation.

While speaking with Barton, Hall learned his favourite player was Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey. Coincidentally, Hall has been longtime friends with Morrissey and his family, thanks to a connection through minor hockey in Calgary.

Hall texted Morrissey and told him Barton's story.

"It was one of those things where I didn't want to bother Josh because he was prepping for the playoffs and he just opened up a restaurant in Winnipeg called The 44," said Hall.

"Josh and his wife do so much in Winnipeg and you don't even want to bother him when they get to the playoffs as a kind of friendly favour. But I sent him a little text message explaining the situation and told him if he was busy not to worry about it. He responded, 'I've got you hooked up. What's an address I can send it to?'"

The ski patrollers that treated Barton surprised him with the signed jersey, bearing Morrissey's name and the No. 44, at a Sylvan Lake restaurant on Saturday, April 27.

"I was really surprised and thankful, both to the ski patrol and Josh. It was great," said Barton, whose favourite player is Morrissey.

Barton has been a lifelong Jets fan

"My dad grew up in Manitoba and I've always been a Jets fan because he's been a Jets fan," said Barton.

The Winnipeg Jets were ousted from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday, after losing a first-round matchup with the Colorado Avalanche in five games.

"There's always next year," he added.

Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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