3ICE Gave Larry Murphy His First Coaching Experience

When thinking about Hockey Hall of Fame defensemen, Larry Murphy is undoubtedly one of the first players that come to mind. In his 21-year NHL career, Murphy won the Stanley Cup four times and holds the record for most points (76) and assists (60) by a rookie defenseman. When he retired, there was no doubt that one of the greatest defensemen ever to play the game was hanging up the skates. However, unlike a lot of Hall-of-Fame caliber players, Murphy stayed away from coaching, at least until he was introduced to 3ICE.

Related: Introducing 3ICE – The Best Part of Hockey

Murphy was approached about the possibility of coaching in the 3ICE league by Craig Patrick, who he had known from his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Despite purposely staying away from coaching in the past, he knew that the format of hockey that 3ICE presented was the perfect introduction to coaching. Now, as 3ICE enters its second season, Murphy is looking to pick up where he left off and bring home the Patrick Cup.

Murphy Thrives with the 3ICE Format

When Murphy played in the NHL, the 3-on-3 format that is now used for overtime was something extremely rare. While it was still an aspect of the sport, it was nowhere near as prevalent as it is now. As a result, transitioning to continuous 3-on-3 play was something that he had to adjust to.

3ICE Larry Murphy
Action from week seven during 3ICE competition at Videotron Centre on July 30, 2022 in Quebec City, Quebec. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/3ICE/Getty Images)

“When I was playing in the NHL, you didn’t see the 3-on-3 style like you do now,” Murphy said. “It was there every once in a while, but not like the overtime that the league has today. It completely changes how you approach the game.”

Murphy believes the biggest change 3ICE has made to coaching hockey is how important possession has become. It is not uncommon for teams to dump the puck into the offensive zone in the NHL, but Murphy believes trying to do the same thing in 3ICE is much more difficult. Turnovers can lead to immediate scoring chances due to mistakes being harder to cover up, which can quickly put the game out of reach. That being said, Murphy believes this format fits his coaching style tremendously, and it was one of the main draws for him when he finally began his coaching career.

Murphy Ready to Win the Patrick Cup

While Murphy has adjusted wonderfully to 3ICE’s style of play, his squad fell short of the Patrick Cup last season because of some key injuries right before the playoffs. Despite having a taxi squad ready to go, the chemistry that the team had built over the year could only remain partially intact with roster changes at the worst possible time. However, this year, he believes he has the experience and the team needed to become Patrick Cup champions.

The Patty Cup on display during 3ICE Week Two at Magness Arena on June 25, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Harry How/3ICE/Getty Images)

Murphy loves the competitive style of 3ICE, and he believes the pressure to maintain puck possession at all times and keep the score out of reach of his opponents has allowed him to thrive as a coach. Now that he has a full season under his belt, he’s ready to get back behind the bench and begin pushing toward the ultimate goal: winning the cup with his team.

“Obviously, the biggest goal of mine is to win the Patty Cup,” Murphy said. “I enjoy the challenge as a coach, and I’m looking forward to getting back at it this season.”