Hockey is one of those sports that one can’t fully experience until fully immersed in it. From the the crowd ‘oohing and ahhing’ every shot on goal, the sound the boards make when someone is checked into them, the dueling “National Anthem vs. O Canada” renditions, or the sound of a post denying a would-be goal scorer.
Officer Hugh Murphy spends much of his free time training both young and older generations how great hockey can be.
“I’ve been on the job for about fifteen years now and a hockey player for about forty,” said Murphy, “My whole family is involved in the sport and I even met my wife on the ice. My daughter plays travel hockey on the local boys team and looks to be a much better hockey player than her old man.”
Like with many things in life, Murphy’s interest in hockey really peaked growing up with a family filled with hockey enthusiasts. While growing up in Michigan, Murphy spent much of his childhood playing youth hockey in Ann Arbor with success coming as he grew older.
“I ended up being a really quick skater and a decent hockey player,” reflects Murphy, “I’ve played Junior Hockey, Club Hockey at San Jose State and even spent a year on the United Nations team in Korea while in the military.”
One may assume that the world of hockey and the world of police work do not co-mingle very much but hockey is a growing segment in the Public Safety field as many departments and fire stations are fielding teams. The Ice Hockey World POLICE CUP Championship is also up for grabs soon as the defending champion Slovakia will look to defend their championship.
Murphy is a huge advocate of using hockey as a training tool as well.
“I always find it interesting when we say, ‘Keep your head on a swivel’ in police work,” said Murphy, “I started to learn that the day I first laced up in hockey. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in the game to take a beginner hockey class. It is a very demanding sport but there is a level for everyone of any age or ability level. I teach/coach everything from six year old travel teams to sixty year old beginning hockey players.”
Perhaps the greatest thing hockey has done for Murphy, outside of the amazingly strong connection it has given his family, is helping him in some of his darker days.
“One of the biggest crossovers (between hockey and the job), however, was when I was injured on the job,” remembers Murphy, “I fell off a cliff and suffered a nearly fatal injury on a vehicle rescue gone horribly wrong. I broke my back in two places and suffered numerous injuries. Physical therapy was doing a decent job of getting me back to being healthy but I didn’t really start to heal until I was cleared for skating again. Skating, and eventually a return to hockey, is what really accelerated the recovery process and got me emotionally and spiritually healed. I returned back to work in about eight months and made the SWAT team a year later. Without hockey I guarantee none of that would have happened.”
Now, like many parents of athletes, Murphy spends much of his time shuttling around the latest hockey player in his family (his daughter) while also working at a local hockey rink. His passion shines through when encouraging others to experience hockey firsthand.
“If you have a love of the sport as a spectator there is nothing like playing the game,” said Murphy, “There is nothing like it.”
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