White Rock father left paralyzed by hockey accident

People who know Richard Morrison a lot, a little or not at all are rallying to help the White Rock man, who became paralyzed last week after smashing into the boards while playing hockey.

Perhaps they are reaching out to help Morrison, 47, because he was injured while playing the popular Canadian pastime.

Or because he is the father of two young children, three-year-old Jessa and Johnny, who turns six today.

Maybe some are inspired by descriptions of the witty, selfless, giving personality of Morrison, a realtor and HandyDart driver.

“There’s a lot of people who play hockey and there are a lot of people who are just touched by this story because it is such a long-term, severe injury. It has definitely touched home for a lot of people,” said Brent Silzer, Morrison’s best friend and his co-worker at Sutton West Coast Realty in White Rock.

Story continues below advertisement
“[Fundraising] has really turned into a good little tidal wave, just a frenzy, which is so good for Rich. We had the first few days to sit and cry, and then we thought let’s get moving for him.”

A week ago today, Morrison was playing hockey at Burnaby 8 Rinks when he fell and his head crashed into the boards, compressing his spine.

He is paralyzed from the waist down, can move his arms a little but not his hands, and is using a ventilator to breath – although his wife, Sheila, hopes that will be removed soon so he can talk.

In less than a week, Silzer and other friends have created a website to solicit donations ( and organized several fundraisers.

They have already collected $10,000 to help the Morrisons pay for the massive bills they will face for medications, a wheelchair-equipped van, and leaving their two-bedroom condo for a more accessible home.

Richard was emotional Friday when his wife told him about all the fundraising efforts. Sheila, who works in a care home, is extremely grateful.

“Just right off the bat, I was panicking: What are we going to do? We don’t have family out here. We don’t have much money,” she said in an interview Friday.

Story continues below advertisement

Richard has been unable to see his children yet, but Sheila suspects they will motivate him to stay positive.

“They know daddy’s hurt and broke his neck and won’t be home for a while. I think they understand he is going to be in a wheelchair,” she said. ” It is going to be a journey for all of us. We are in this together as a family.”

Sheila said her husband is expected to soon be moved to Vancouver General Hospital’s spinal unit, where he will spend an estimated six weeks before going to GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre for about four months.

There are dozens of comments on the three-day-old website, including this from his niece, Lexi Morrison: “I hope Auntie Sheila, Johnny, Jessa will get the amazing Uncle Richard back to them soon enough. Uncle Richard is such a great guy and one of the Best Uncles anyone could ever ask for.”

In the meantime, Sheila is trying to keep life normal for her children. Johnny’s sixth birthday party was planned a long time ago and will still happen on Sunday.

He is having a hockey party.

Sponsored content