After years of playing club hockey in his hometown of Wilmette, Ill., Co-Captain Bryce Murphy ’18 stepped onto the ice for the first time playing for his school when he joined Andover Boys Hockey as a new Upper last year.
“I’d never played for a school team before — I’d always played club — so coming [to Andover] and playing in front of the fans and the student body has been a big part of why it’s been such a fun experience [for me],” said Murphy.
Despite being the first hockey player in his family, Murphy started playing the sport at an early age and has continued to play for a competitive club league throughout his high school career.
Murphy said, “I like the high tempo and the physicality of the game — there’s no set plays like in football, so you kind of just go out there and play.”
Despite having been a new addition to Andover last season, Murphy has already made an enormous impact on the team, according to his teammates.
“Bryce is a leader in many ways, but most importantly he is an exceptional teammate who always wants the best for all of us as individuals and as a team,” wrote teammate Sawyer Moody ’19, in an email to The Phillipian.
On the ice, Murphy is a multidimensional defenseman whose intensity and knowledge of the game makes him a force to be reckoned with, according to Head Coach Paul Tortorella ’80.
“Bryce’s game is very physical, but he’s also an excellent skater and an excellent passer which makes him a truly multifaceted player,” said Tortorella.
“Bryce is a really physical player who always gets [the team] excited with a big hit. I’d also describe him as a solid player since he always knows the right play to make for the team,” said Moody.
Murphy also leads his teammates with both strength and maturity, according to Coach Tortorella.
“Bryce’s presence really demands the respect of his teammates and that’s makes him such a strong captain. He knows what’s important both on and off the ice, and he doesn’t sway from it,” said Coach Tortorella.
In addition to his technical strength, Murphy’s dedication and love for the game makes him an influential example for Andover to follow.
“[Murphy’s] teammates definitely look up to him — he’s a good listener, he always does the drills full speed, he’s always focused, he makes sacrifices for his team, he never backs down — and these are the qualities that all players hope to achieve,” said Coach Tortorella .
Murphy is well known by his teammates and Coach Tortorella as an energetic and focused player both on and off the ice.
“Bryce leads both by example and vocals. Like all [the team’s] captains, he’s very focused on what needs to be done in order to have a positive experience during practice, games, and off the ice as well,” said Coach Tortorella.
“[Murphy] inspires us every day to be the best hockey player and teammate we can be by giving us words of wisdom during practice and encouraging us to create strong bonds with each other,” said Moody.
Alongside his other co-captains, Murphy aims to create a fun, constructive, and positive atmosphere beyond the ice that will help the team improve its performance in the rink.
Murphy said, “My goal as a captain this season is to make sure that everybody is getting along, having fun, and just making the most of the time we have together. I think this year especially we got off to a really quick start bonding and getting to know each other — [the] locker room has been really solid. I think that the team chemistry is already starting to show out on the ice and that helps us to improve our game a lot.”
Murphy is confident about the new additions to the team and looks forward to a promising season ahead.
Murphy said, “I’m excited to have another shot at the championship. I think last year we had a pretty good run — we made it to the playoffs — but didn’t end up having what it takes [to win]. This year, though, I think we have a really good shot.”
Moody said, “I think that with Bryce as a captain, this season will be a great one because we can all rally behind him and create a strong team chemistry which will translate into wins for the team.”
“If there’s one thing I’d want to teach my teammates it’d be to just go out there and have fun — don’t get down on yourselves too much because there’s always going to be another shift, you’re always going to go back out there. Put your head down, put in the work, and it will get you there,” said Murphy.