Nova Scotia

Halifax brothers take different paths in pursuit of NHL dream

Morgan Barron is playing U.S. college hockey for an Ivy League school while his younger brother Justin suits up for the Halifax Mooseheads.

Morgan Barron suits up for Ivy League school while his younger brother Justin plays for Mooseheads

Justin Barron plays for the Halifax Mooseheads. (Halifax Mooseheads)

Halifax's Barron brothers dream of one day playing in the NHL and are both trending in the right direction. But Morgan and Justin Barron are taking very different paths in pursuit of their goal.

Morgan, 18, is a freshman forward playing NCAA Division 1 hockey at Cornell University. He's off to a red-hot start with the Big Red, registering at least one point in each of his first seven games.

"I've been on the scoresheet probably more than I expected," said Morgan. "I just want to keep it going, things have really been clicking well."

Morgan left Nova Scotia two years ago to play at St. Andrew's College, a prep school in Aurora, Ont. He had other college scholarship offers in the U.S. but he chose Cornell, located in Ithaca, N.Y.

"I just thought it would be good to get an Ivy League degree and getting that degree is the big reason why I chose college hockey," he said. "It's a big advantage to be working toward the degree while playing high-level hockey and keeping my pro dream alive at the same time."

His play was so good last season he caught the eye of NHL scouts. The New York Rangers picked the 6-3" 208-pound forward in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL entry draft.

"That was really exciting and I was really happy about it," said Barron. "Being taken by New York, they are an organization known for their high class and how they treat their players."

Morgan Barron plays for Cornell. (Ned Dykes/Cornell Athletics)

Morgan isn't the only Barron making a big impression on the ice this season.

His younger brother Justin is a highly regarded rookie defenceman with the Halifax Mooseheads. Rather than leaving home to go the prep school/college route like his older brother, Justin opted to play junior hockey and was a first-round pick of his hometown team.

"Getting drafted by Halifax and being able to go to my same high school, I just thought it was the best fit for me personally," said Justin Barron, who turned 16 last week.

Like his older sibling, Justin is already catching the eye of pro scouts.

The Grade 10 student at Halifax West High School will have a couple of seasons to work on his game and will be eligible for the NHL draft in 2020.

Game atmosphere 'unbelievable'

Justin was picked to play on one of the Canadian teams in the recent World Under-17 Hockey Challenge held in British Columbia. His team made it to the gold medal game against the U.S. but he couldn't play after being sidelined with the flu.

"Unfortunately, the team had the flu going around and on gold medal day Justin woke up with it," said Justin's dad, Gerard Barron. "He was pretty sick and to keep him out of that game was really tough on him."

The last couple of weeks have been busy ones for Gerard Barron and his wife, Jenny.

They spent a week in B.C. watching Justin play and last weekend they travelled stateside to watch Morgan play two home games at Cornell.

"The atmosphere down there with student bands playing and sold out crowds and the hockey itself was unbelievable," said Gerard, who was thrilled to see his son score a goal Friday night. "It's a very fast game in the NCAA and enjoyable to watch for sure."


Paul Palmeter is an award-winning video journalist born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. He has covered news and sports stories across Nova Scotia for 30 years.