Murphy mans the helm of an emerging SUNYAC power


Dave DeLuca/The Record

Head coach Steve Murphy led the Bengals to a program best 15 wins last year.

Zachary Huk, Special to the Record

As soon as you walk into the rink, you feel the cold air rush through your lungs and down your neck. The hockey bags are all lined up against the walls waiting to be filled with equipment and shower necessities. Steve Murphy, head coach of the Buffalo State hockey team, walks up and down the hallway, inspecting each and every bag as the season soon approaches. Murphy returns behind the bench this year as the official head coach; he’s shedded his interim tag he held last year.

As a native of Anchorage, Alaska, he is proud of where he is from and even refers to it as the best place in the world. He openly admits that he may be a little biased, but does not shy away from boasting about his hometown.

“You have to be an outdoors person to really grow up and enjoy living there,” he said. “A lot of fishing and hiking, but I enjoyed it and it helped shape who I am today.”

Coach Murphy is hopeful that one day he will return home and live there.

Hockey, the biggest and most popular sport in Alaska, consumed Murphy’s life. Murphy’s father coached him in hockey throughout his entire youth. He credits his father with igniting his love and passion for the game and his reasons for pursuing coaching after his playing days were over. Murphy’s father also coached at the college and professional level, which allowed him to give Steve guidance and advice. Murphy refers to him as a great source for coaching.

Murphy played four years of college hockey. Two years at Curry College in Massachusetts, one season at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota, and his final season at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. With Minnesota being a hockey hot bed here in the U.S., playing and living there for two years gave Murphy the inside recruiting knowledge he needed to restock his roster for this upcoming season.

Murphy and his staff are currently recruiting all over the country and Canada for new players. Coach Murphy went to Minnesota for four days to watch a showcase of young talented hockey players while his assistants went to British Columbia in Canada to scout. Murphy knows it is an important part of the business, but he can’t wait for November to roll around and to get onto the ice.

The goal this year, as is every year, is to win the SUNYAC championship and get into the NCAA tournament. After falling short last year, Murphy and his squad look to build off a record-breaking season and make the next step.

“I think they really played well and proved a lot to not just the teams in our conference,” Murphy said, “but the whole country.”

Coming off a season where they racked up 15 wins, the most in program history, the team will look to goalie Mike DeLeVergne to get the bulk of starts. Murphy sees his starting goaltender as the best in the conference, and doesn’t see why he cannot have a season like last year. DeLeVergne broke four individual school records last season and was named to the 2015-2016 All-SUNYAC first team.

With a hot goaltender and great overall team play, Murphy and his Bengals may have what it takes this year to get past the SUNYAC championship and into the NCAA tournament. It all comes down to execution and hard work for his players and staff. Even with a much younger team, he feels confident that his team can get the job done.

“We want teams to know that they are in for a game when they play us,” Murphy added, “and that they are going to have to bring their A game, because we are going to bring ours.”

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