Netminder Stephen Murphy was capped 68 times for his country, playing in 13 World Championships and two Olympic Qualifying events after making his debut as a 19-year-old in Slovenia in 2001. He retired from international competition in 2017 after helping his country win promotion on home in Belfast.
In Division 1 of the World Championships, the IIHF named him the Best Goalie of the tournament in 2010 and 2011, and he was twice voted Britain’s Best Player by the GB Supporters Club in 2008 and 2011. He had the best save percentage of 93.33 in the 2008 games.
Britain’s second-most capped cageman behind his fellow Hall of Famer, Stevie Lyle, Murphy’s career save percentage was a creditable 90.43, allowing a measly 102 goals on 1,066 shots. His career goals against average was 2.84.
Named Britain’s Best Netminder in his very first appearance in international hockey at under-18 level in 1999, he was the tournament’s leading keeper the following year in the under-20s, when he was also credited with two assists. His third junior championship in Lithuania, however, was cut short when he was injured.
‘Murph’ began his 23-year career in his native Scotland in the British National League with Fife Flyers (1998-2001) and Dundee Stars (2001-03) before going south to Bracknell Bees for season 2003-04. He also spent part of 1998-99 in the Scottish League with Glasgow Dynamos, and part of 2000-01 in the North American Hockey League with Cleveland (Ohio) Barons.
A ‘have kit, will travel’ guy, after only a handful of games for the Bees, he decided to try his hand at European hockey, signing for Swedish second division clubs, Bjorkloven (2004-05) and Arboga (2005-06). Returning to Scotland, he spent a season in the Elite League with Edinburgh Capitals before being tempted back to Scandinavia and spending 2007-08 in the top Norwegian league with Stjernen.
The following campaign found him back in England, pulling on a Manchester Phoenix jersey before he finally settled in Northern Ireland with Belfast Giants where he remained until the 2019-20 season was cut short due to the Covid epidemic. When the Elite League shut down for the 2020-21 season he went back to Altrincham and iced for the Storm in the Elite Series.
The ice hockey writers showered him with honours. He was voted British Netminder of the Year eight times between 2001-02 and 2013-14, and honoured with four All-Star ‘A’ team selections and three ‘B’ team berths.
GB assistant coach Adam Keefe, who coached and played with Murphy in Belfast, said: “He was the backbone of the club during his years here 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.”
Stephen Murphy was born in Dundee, Scotland on 11 December 1981. He was inducted into the Ice Hockey UK Hall of Fame in 2023.