It happens to fans of all sports. Your favorite player packs up and commits to another team. It happens all the time, although, it doesn’t make it any easier when it’s your player jumping ship. There are things as fans we aren’t privy to, so you shouldn’t judge those moves. However, learning of Michael Murphy’s decision to leave the Hurricanes’ organization for the KHL still hurts. He has been our Man of the Year, our playoff hero, and trusted face on the Charlotte Checkers.
Checkers’ teammate, Matt Pistilli, once tweeted about being shunned by a player he idolized as a kid and how it committed it made him to being a “nice guy” with fans. Mr. Murphy exemplified that role perfectly. Always taking the time to talk or tweet with his supporters or visit children in the local hospital.
Someone actually got a laugh out of me today when they tweeted, “Just logged on to help with the suicide watch.” Ok, so it’s no secret #31 is beloved in my book of players. So, don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be cheering on Murph as he guards the Spartak crease in Moscow, but he will be greatly missed.
Fellow Cardiac Cane writer, Sally Brown, wrote on great piece on Mike moments in Charlotte, but I couldn’t resist sharing a few of my own.
I met Murph for the first time after a game in Charlotte in February 2011. I had driven from Raleigh with my fellow Raleigh Road Trippers and enjoyed a terrific win by the Checkers. We headed to Brixx restaurant after the game as the team had announced that spot as the after party location. I don’t think Mike was fully seated before I ran over to introduce myself. He didn’t seem annoyed at all by my overzealous intro and even paid me a compliment about getting a couples laugh from me on Twitter. My nerdy 13-year-old self beamed at the kudos. Class act from the start. I was sold and joined the Murph bandwagon.
One of my other favorite memories was at a Checkers’ skate with the players night. He had painted nails. That’s right, nail polish on his fingers. Apparently, he lost a bet to the one and only Zach “Bug” Bennett. Too funny. He was also kind enough to sign two items for my Muscular Dystrophy charity items that raised money for my walk team in honor of my pal, Cam.
From his mailbag videos to his amazing saves, Murph gave fans many smiles (and I know there will be many more). I asked Twitterverse to share their favorite moments or messages with the goalie and here are a few I’d like to share:
Tracey Lake thought it would be fun to watch these River Rats mailbags and I agree:
Anonymous Tweeter stated Murphy was the reason her eight-year-old son wanted to be a goalie when he started youth hockey.
Gregg Wisniewski said his favorite memory was when his 13-year-old daughter had her “Marry Me” poster signed by Mike. Which is funny, because I remember tweeting Murph that I didn’t approve.
Emily said, “I’m gonna miss Murph. Such a talented, character guy.”
Last, and most importantly, a personal message from the Bennett Family to Murph:
"The Bennett’s would like to extend a special warm and heartfelt thank you to Mike Murphy for being such a positive and influential role model to Bug (a.k.a. Zach). We will miss you greatly. Bug says he’ll play you and beat you like always on NHL 2K12 on Wii via Wi-Fi. Be safe. Have the time of your life in your new adventure. Just as you look to the picture of Bug on your mask for inspiration in the game, Bug will always look to you for inspiration throughout his life. Call/text anytime day or night. Sending you with many hugs! Love, The Bennett’s (Danielle, Randy, Bug, and Peanut)"
I can’t think of a better way to end this post. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication while in North Carolina Mr. Murphy. You gained lifelong fans that wish you the absolute best. Enjoy some more video until we follow Mike this fall!
Someone get me tissues, beer, and Steel Magnolias pronto. While I ride out my depression coma, give the Cardiac Cane crew a follow on Facebook and Twitter: @CardiacCaneFS, @Esbee92, @Caniac176, and @CaniacCaz.