Belfast Giants netminder Stephen Murphy has announced his retirement, bringing the curtain on a career spanning over 20 years.
The 39-year-old has spent the last 11 years in Northern Ireland and has won everything he can in the sport as well as representing Great Britain in multiple competitions, earning just under 40 caps.
And the Scot admits he’s pleased to finishing his career in a city that has become ‘home’ for him over the last decade.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” he said. “I started with Fife Flyers when I was 15, turning 16 and I’ve have enjoyed every single year.
“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.
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Stephen Murphy announces retirement from the Belfast Giants after 11 seasons.
“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.
“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.”
He also enjoyed spells with Edinburgh Capitals. Bracknell Bees and even tried his hand in Sweden between 2004 and 2006 then with Norwegian side Stjernen in 2007-08.
He joined the Giants from Manchester Phoenix in 2009, where he really established himself as the top UK netminder.
He took part in the Elite Series earlier this year, joining Manchester Storm where he made what turned out to be his final professional appearance, but his association with the Giants is what will be best remembered.
Belfast coach Adam Keefe paid tribute to his team-mate and says his retirement is going to be a ‘big change’ for the club.
“Murph has been the backbone of the club since 2009 and his retirement was always going to be a big change for the Giants,” he said.
“His career 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.”