No one can ever doubt Colleen Murphy’s love for the game of hockey. In fact, I’d be willing to bet no one goes to the lengths that she does to continue playing the game that she cares so deeply about. When she’s not playing weekends in the NWHL she works full-time at Tower Engineering in Raleigh, North Carolina. Last season she was a key cog of the Buffalo Beauts’ defense corps that made it to the league’s championship game. This season she has continued defending against some of the most elite players in the world as she joined the revamped Connecticut Whale two months after the season started.
So what led to Murphy signing with the Whale? How is she adjusting to a new group of teammates and a new group of defenders? Was it weird playing against her former teammates in her first game alongside her new teammates? All of the answers to that in more in my Q & A with the 25-year old Northeastern grad following a recent game against the Metropolitan Riveters.
The Hockey Writers: I know you travel from your home in North Carolina to play in this league, so have you been able to get in some practices at all with Connecticut?
Colleen Murphy: Yeah. I’m actually making more practices than I did last year in Buffalo! I fly up on a Friday, either in the morning or during the day, make the Friday practice and then the Saturday or Sunday game. I’m flying home tonight (after this interview) and then going to do it all over again (next weekend).
Murphy Joins the Pod
THW: How did this all come about, you joining the Whale in December?
CM: I’ve been in contact with (head coach) Ryan (Equale) since the start of the season. Essentially saying, ‘hey if you ever need another player I’m available.’ It came about in early December that they had a couple of openings on their roster and he reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to play on a PTO, and I jumped at the chance.
(Murphy is now signed for the rest of the season)
THW: How much of an adjustment is it for you, with new teammates and joining midseason?
CM: It’s actually a lot bigger adjustment than I thought it would be, just because I haven’t played (at any level) with any of the players on the Whale. I’m still learning everybody’s style, but the biggest adjustment is picking up the speed of the game again. I think once I get that back and once I start playing with some of the forwards more it’ll be fine. I think Brick (Jordan Brickner) and I do a great job as partners on D, we’ve been a good pair.
Hello, My Name Is…
THW: How has the adjustment been with a new D partner? Is there a lot of communication on and off the ice?
CM: Yeah, and it’s good that Brick has been playing for four years. She knows the team, knows the game, and she’s been helping me learn the way this team plays. We talk after every shift, in between periods, a lot of positivity and encouraging each other to work well.
I dunno how she was wearing shorts, ‘twas frigid in that rink. pic.twitter.com/39HgIhS9H2
— Dan Rice (@DRdiabloTHW) January 7, 2019
THW: It must be a big asset to have Cydney Roesler behind you as an assistant coach, someone else who is familiar with the team and also doubles as a defender for the Whale?
CM: Absolutely. Cyd and Jordan have been huge with cluing me in on tendencies of when to jump up or reign it in a little bit more depending on what line is out. Everyone on this team has been extremely helpful in helping me fit in.
THW: Today was your third game in a Whale uniform, but your first game with Connecticut was against your old squad in Buffalo. How strange was that for you?
CM: It was really weird. But it was more so exciting. I was really excited about that because it was fun to play against them. I know kind of what they are trying to do. For me, I was really excited to just get into another NWHL game. I jumped at the chance so I really just tried to make something of this opportunity no matter what team we were playing.
Dan Rice is in his 9th year of reporting for THW & has covered NJ Devils home games for 15+ years at various websites. He began his journey working for legendary broadcaster/writer Stan Fischler from 2002-04 & completed an internship at the ECHL; he also has been writing features for the NWHL (nwhl.zone) website since 2016.