Legendary Belfast Giants netminder, Stephen Murphy has announced that he is hanging up his skates, signalling an end to his mammoth 11-season run with the Belfast Giants.
Fan favourite Murphy originally joined the Giants in 2009 from the Manchester Phoenix. The Scot played a vital role in helping the organisation reach the Playoff Championship at the end of his first season in Belfast. Murphy famously starred in the decisive shootout in the 2010 grand final against the Cardiff Devils.
Since his debut season in Belfast, he has collected several All-Star awards, winning the British Netminder of the Year award on eight occasions, whilst backstopping the Belfast Giants to Elite League titles in 2011/12, 2013/14 and 2018/19. He also helped Team GB win their first World Championship Gold Medal in 24 years during the 2017 tournament in Belfast.
His enviable all-time record includes 10,584 saves in 440 games, achieving a save percentage of 0.913 and 26 shutouts during a mammoth 25,741 minutes of on-ice time. Now, aged 39, the Dundee born goalie has said ‘the time is right’ to call it a day.
Reflecting back on his career and his time with the Belfast Giants, he said: “Some of my best memories are not things that I have personally done. It was such a cool experience playing with your best mates and family as well with Shieldsy. When you achieved something together it just made it all the more special. If we had a big game and one of the guys scored a big goal, it just gave you this extra rush when your mates scored a goal and you’re winning the game.
“It was just so much fun going to work with your best mates every day – it’s definitely one of the main things I’ll take away from playing hockey, and definitely one of the things I’m going to miss for sure.
“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. It’s 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. To finish playing for the Giants is what I imagined for so long; having been here for so long and having been part of the family and making it my new home, which made it even more special. It didn’t become old; it became more and more special to me every year that I stayed here, and my family are growing up here as well.”
Asked if he can pinpoint a specific memory from his time in Belfast, he says it’s impossible to choose just one: “I don’t think there’s one moment that sticks out – there’s a whole flurry of moments. That feeling, that big game feeling, when things go right, you make a big save and we go down the other end and score a goal. It’s that buzz when the crowd and everyone’s involved and everyone’s in the moment, that buzz that you get – that’s what brings you back – you want more of that. If I think about it, I get that sort of feeling coming back and it’s not one moment, it’s a culmination of all those moments over the years – it’s pretty special.
“I look forward to watching a Giants match, being part of the crowd and hopefully that happens pretty soon this year. I’m looking forward to it and I’m sure everyone’s looking forward to getting back to it and I’ll be a part of that.”
Coach Adam Keefe 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 teammate and friend. I wish him and his family the best in life after hockey.”
The full interview with Giants’ commentator, Simon Kitchen and Stephen Murphy will be released on the Belfast Giants YouTube and social feeds later today.