Among the veteran members of the United States national ball hockey team, Colleen Murphy approached the 2022 ISBHF Women’s Worlds in Laval, Quebec, with a sense of eagerness. Having competed for the United States three years prior in Kosice, Slovakia, the long hiatus, attributed to pandemic woes, made the return to the biggest stage of the sport so much more rewarding.
A graduate of Boston’s Northeastern University, skating for the Huskies from 2011-15, Murphy, raised in Cary, North Carolina, also enjoys a professional career. Spending the 2021-22 season with the Metropolitan Riveters, appearing in 20 games, ball hockey remains parallel to her on-ice pursuits. Worth noting, the aftermath of the ISBHF Worlds saw Murphy make the trip to Buffalo, New York, winning a championship at the Chiclets Cup.
Certainly, the privilege of wearing the Stars and Stripes twice in a career represented another proud milestone. Elated at the opportunity to compete against the world’s finest, taking on a bigger role with the national team due to her previous experiences, confidence emerged as a key theme.
“I did feel more confident in my game coming into 2022. The confidence comes from being able to play more ball hockey and prepare properly with knowing what to expect in a tournament like this. I try to play with confidence and aggressiveness and I felt like my leadership comes through actions more so.”
Equally compelling for Murphy involved a number of highly familiar faces on the American roster. Several players from the PHF also donned the US jersey, adding a compelling new layer to the league’s unfolding mythos. Considering that her professional resume includes stints with the Buffalo Beauts and Connecticut Whale, prior to signing with the Riveters, several members of the US roster once crossed paths in the pros.
Among them included goaltenders Sonjia Shelly and Brooke Wolejko. Additionally, Elena Orlando, the recipient of the 2022 PHF Denna Laing Award, plus forward Sarah Hughson, also a member of the 2019 US team that competed in Kosice, played together for the Connecticut Whale. Haley Frade, also a member of the Riveters in 2021-22 wore the Stars and Stripes. Worth noting, Shelly and Cherie Stewart, a member of Team USA and an inaugural skater for the Riveters, called Murphy a teammate at the Chiclets Cup.
Reflecting on the opportunity to share her most recent ISBHF opportunity with such notable figures, getting the chance to become teammates once again with several of the aforementioned, it filled Murphy with jubilation and enjoyment. Considering she introduced several players to ball hockey, including Hughson, the lone member of the US to gain a spot on the Tournament All-Star team, her success provided a strong feeling of pride.
“It was a ton of fun to have PHF/NWHL players on the team this year! I love that we are able to bring in more ice players and introduce them to the world of ball hockey. I have been teammates with most of them at some point in my professional career, so it was really great to be with them again.”
Qualifying for the medal round, highlighted by a preliminary round victory over Czech Republic, an admiration regarding the quality of play signified one of the favorite elements of the event for Murphy. In the aftermath of the contest versus the Czechs, Murphy earned Player of the Game honors for the US. With solid playmaking skills, contributing three assists in tournament play, there was a sense of serendipity in the fascinating fact that she logged an assist on Hughson’s goal in a 4-0 win on June 24 versus Lebanon, as Sonjia Shelly, also a teammate on the Riveters, earned the shutout. Surrounded by such familiar faces, contributing to the sense of camaraderie that provided another facet of enjoyment.
“I would say just being around the team and making new friendships (were enjoyable). I loved the competitiveness of the games and the challenge of playing at that level.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”