Twitter is a beautiful thing. It brings you real-time information at your fingertips. But sometimes Twitter brings you news that although is not bad, is news you don’t want to hear. Around lunchtime today, Mike Murphy, netminder for the Charlotte Checkers, tweeted the following:
"@MichaelMurphy31 KHL/Russia bound next season! I’d like to thank the Hurricanes/Checkers organization & fans for an amazing 3yrs! Memories i’ll have forever!"
I can’t even begin to tell you how sad that made me. Some people started speculating about the goalie situation in Charlotte. Will John Muse be returning? What will happen to Justin Peters? I can honestly say none of these things crossed my mind. My response? “Have you told Bug yet?”
While Mike Murphy may have made an impression between the pipes for the Charlotte (and previously Albany) faithful, “Murph” made a bigger impression off the ice, especially in the life of Zach “Bug” Bennett. For those unfamiliar with young Bug’s story, check out the great story ESPN 60 did on him and his wonderful family last year. Bug suffers from a disease called neurofibromatosis which has caused him to lose his legs but not his spirit. When the Checkers moved to Charlotte, the Bennetts followed with help from the organization. I can’t think of the Checkers without thinking of the Bennetts and the special brotherhood among Zach and the players, especially Murph. Instead going through a bunch of boring statistics, I want to share with you stories like this that make Mike Murphy a guy we are all going to miss.
Murphy does an interview on Face Paint from the Score on his lid and the design on the back (with a bonus look at Cam Ward’s. I wonder if he knows!) He also talks about his goalie coach, Coach Bennett:
In 2011, Murphy was named the Checkers IOA/AHL Specialty Man if the Year for his contributions in the community in the 2010-2011 season. It was rare to see a community outreach program in which Murphy was not involved.
What will the Checkers be like without “Mike and Mike?” Who will be Michal Jordan’s straight man when he tells his crazy tales? Who will he get to help him carve pumpkins? This is one of my favorite clips of the two of them:
Let’s enjoy some vintage holiday wishes
bloopers from Mike Murphy, former Checker Justin Pogge and some really special Christmas sweaters:
For some reason “Mike and Mike’s Mailbag” was always funnier when they were wearing their Carolina Panthers sweaters:
As for the answer to my initial question, per Bug’s mom, Danielle, Bug was in school when the tweet came out and didn’t know the news yet. I can only imagine how sad it will be for the buddies to be so far away. The rest of us in NC will miss Mike too. It’s not always about the performance of the players on the ice; it’s about character. And Mike Murphy has that to spare. It has been a pleasure to watch a player that works hard on the ice but is a genuinely nice guy that is good to the fans and the community. We enjoyed having you here in the Old North State Murph and anytime you wish to return, NC, Checkers and Hurricanes fans will welcome you with open arms. Best of luck in your new adventures. p.s. please feel free to stay on the Twitter so we can keep up with you (and your flow!) Just a suggestion! A really strong suggestion.
Have any Murph memories you would like to share? Leave us a comment!