KERROBERT — Curtis Murphy was recently inducted into the University of North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame, honouring his contributions to the university’s hockey program.
Murphy was born and raised in the small farming town of Kerrobert, raised with five brothers and one sister. The Murphy name is synonymous with hockey in Kerrobert, and residents can share many memories of following the hockey career of Curtis Murphy.
Murphy’s hockey career started on the frozen dugouts skating with family and cousins. Life revolved around the rink. Murphy played youth hockey in Kerrobert until bantam division, when he migrated to play a season with the Unity Lazers Bantam AA team. From there, he broke the family mold of playing for the Saskatoon Blazers where three of his brothers before him played, and he suited up for the rival Saskatoon Contacts.
The Nipawin Hawks were the next hockey team Murphy played for following in his brother Todd’s footsteps. Following a strong season in the SJHL, Murphy received offers from schools in the NCAA. After attending recruiting trips, he settled on the University of North Dakota, where he played for four full years, winning a national championship in 1997.
Murphy’s resume anchoring the blue line at North Dakota from 1994-98 was said to help usher in a new era of winning for the hockey program. Murphy won several awards, and he ranks second all-time at UND in goals by a defenceman. He even played one season with his brother, Keith.
From his collegiate playing days, Murphy went on to play a 17-year professional career where he was part of two Calder Cups, a Spengler Cup with Team Canada and an EBEL title in Austria. He twice won the Eddie Shore Award, awarded to the player chosen by the AHL media and players as the best defenceman in the league.
Following university, Murphy started his pro career in Orlando with the IHL, which transitioned into the AHL. He signed with the Minnesota Wild, playing one game and won a Calder Cup with Houston. He experienced a brief stint with Nashville’s organization, spent another year in Milwaukee resulting in another Calder Cup in 2003.
In the lockout year, Murphy made the trip to Russia to play with the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv after which he returned to the Houston Aeros and got the call from the Minnesota Wild for one game in 2002-03.
His career then took him to Langnau, Switzerland followed by Linz, Austria in the EBEL, helping to win the championship in the first year.
Not wanting to move again, his career came to a halt at 39 and he and his family moved to Canada, living in Calgary for three years before moving to Houston.
Murphy was previously inducted into the SJHL Hall of Fame in Nipawin in August, 2019.