Netminder Stephen Murphy has announced his retirement, bringing to an end a remarkable 24-year playing career.

The 39-year-old is Great Britain’s second-most capped netminder behind Stevie Lyle and played 68 times for his country after making his debut as a 19-year-old in Slovenia in 2001.

He won two silver medals as a GB player and was part of the gold medal-winning roster that won gold and promotion from Division 1 Group B on home ice in Belfast in 2017.

In the 2008 World Championship Division I Group B in Austria, Murphy was nominated onto the tournament’s all-star team, posting the best save percentage of 93.3%.

Two years later in Slovenia he was named as the tournament’s best netminder and repeated the feat the following year in Ukraine, with a save percentage of 93.5%.

Murphy began his playing career in Scotland with Paisley, Fife and Glasgow. After a stint in North America, he returned to the UK to play for his hometown club Dundee Stars.

He went on to ice for Bracknell Bees, Edinburgh Capitals and Manchester Phoenix and had spells in Sweden and Norway. In 2009, he joined Belfast Giants where he remained for the rest of his career, apart from icing for Manchester Storm in last season’s Elite Series.

Murphy said: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve been fortunate to be able to play for such a long time. I think I started with the Flyers when I was 15, turning 16. Its been a long time and I have enjoyed every single year and I’ve been fortunate to be able to play for the Giants for so long.”

Ice Hockey UK General Secretary, Andy French, said: “I have known Murph a long time and what an exceptional career he has had. For over two decades he has been superb for club and country.

“Not only is he an exceptional netminder, he is great off the ice and just the type of player you want on your roster. On behalf of Ice Hockey UK, I would like to congratulate Stephen on a fantastic career.”

GB assistant coach Adam Keefe, who coached and played with Murphy in Belfast, said: “The retirement of Stephen Murphy was always going to be a big change for the Giants. He has been the backbone of the club since 2009.

“His career here in Belfast should be celebrated and he will forever be a Giants legend. I loved every minute playing in front of Murph as a player and standing behind the bench coaching him. He was a great team-mate and friend. I wish him and his family the best in life after hockey.”

Read more on the Belfast Giants website.