Ian "Scotty" Morrison contributed a lifetime to both the improvement of hockey officiating and the preservation of the game's rich history. He was an enthusiastic and articulate ambassador who touched the lives of hockey fans and professionals all over the world.
Born and educated in Montreal, Quebec, Morrison played junior hockey in the Canadiens' feeders system. Following his amateur playing career, he began to work as an on-ice official. Morrison gained his first experience in the Quebec Amateur Hockey Association (QAHA) then the province's Senior League. In 1952 he was signed by the Western Hockey League (WHL) and moved to Vancouver, BC. Two years later, at 24 years of age, he became the NHL's youngest referee after league Referee-In-Chief Carl Voss signed him to a contract.
Intrigued by the business world, Scotty moved into the sales department of Goodyear then Yardley in 1956. Morrison was worked in BC until 1964 when he moved to Toronto as the Canadian Sales Supervisor for Yardley. During this time he continued to officiate part-time and continued to foster contacts in the hockey community. In June 1965 he was appointed NHL Referee-In-Chief to replace the retired Voss. Morrison was later made an officer of the league and Vice-president, Officiating.
The challenges of an expanded NHL meant that Morrison would need additional supervisors to preside over the officiating. He approached the Board of Governors and NHL President Clarence S. Campbell and obtained their agreement to hire Frank Udvari, a top referee with 16 years experience. Morrison also implemented a strict conditioning program for the league's officiating staff and hired the Toronto Maple Leafs' medical crew to test and monitor their fitness.
Morrison's career took an exciting turn when he was approached by league president John Ziegler Jr. about overseeing the expansion and relocation of the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 1986, after a quarter of a century on the Canadian Exhibition grounds, the Hall was in need of a modernized facility in a higher profile location. Morrison was appointed Vice President Project Development and President of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was an integral part of the Hall's successful bid to relocate to the northwest corner of Yonge and Front Streets in Toronto's financial district. The historic Bank of Montreal building was preserved adjacent to the ultra-modern BCE Place office and retail complex. The new development was grafted on to the bank building to provide the best of both worlds for the Hall's future. Morrison himself envisioned the architectural landmark becoming a "cathedral to the icons of hockey" by housing a permanent display paying tribute to the Hall's Honoured Members.
In October 1991, Morrison was named Chairman and CEO of the Hockey Hall of Fame. On December 31, 1992, the Hall closed its doors at the CNE and prepared to move into its new environs. The doors of the new Hall opened to world-wide acclaim on June 18, 1993. Millions of fans poured through over the next few years and were thrilled by its historic and interactive content. Between October 1997 and June 1998, Morrison presided over the largest facility expansion since the initial move downtown. The London Life Hockey Resource Centre was moved from its original space to make way for the Royal Canadian Mint World of Hockey Zone and the IBM Global Game interactive station. This new display offered the world's largest and most ambitious tribute to international hockey.
When Morrison retired in 1998, the hockey community lost one of its hardest working and most charismatic personalities. He created an appreciation of the job done by on-ice officials and increased the profile of the Hockey Hall of Fame, where he himself was elected in 1999.