U SPORTS WHKY: Brock’s Murphy taking her talents to the PWHPA

Toronto,ON- Following five seasons with the Brock Badgers, OUA Goaltender of the Year, Jensen Murphy has committed to the PWHPA.

The Professional Women’s Hockey Player’s Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the promotion of professional women’s ice hockey. Members include current and former Olympians, former NCAA players and former U SPORTS players. Murphy began thinking about joining the association after the 2019/20 season, her final year of U SPORTS eligibility. 

“I decided to join as I supported their vision to advocate for a sustainable professional league for women’s hockey,”  said Murphy.

(Christian Bender/Ryerson Rams Athletics)

The PWHPA announced plans to divide the association into regional hubs for the 2020/21 season. With hubs in Connecticut, Calgary, New Hampshire, Toronto and Minnesota. Players will have the opportunity to try out for a regional roster and participate in showcases across North America. Players who don’t make those rosters are still able to train with the association. 

Murphy plans to try out for the Toronto regional roster. One thing the PWHPA has no shortage of are goalies having already announced more than a dozen. Murphy is among women’s hockey legends, including two time Olympic gold medalist Shannon Szabados. 

“It would be amazing to have the opportunity to play among the top female hockey players in North America. If that doesn’t work out this season I hope to train with and support the association in advancing hockey for women,” said Murphy. 

Murphy’s career statistics  speak for themselves. She played 109 games with the Badgers, finishing with a .941 career SV%. The Badgers were in the process of rebuilding their women’s hockey program in Murphy’s first season in 2015/16. Though the Badgers didn’t advance past the first round of the playoffs in her time at Brock, Murphy’s contribution in net allowed the Badgers to be a playoff team rather than regularly missing the post-season. What sets Jensen Murphy apart from other OUA goaltenders is her consistency. It’s rare to see her let in an easy goal and it’s even rarer for her to take a night off. She played 23 of Brock’s 24 games this past season, playing over a thousand minutes and making 646 saves (an average of 28 per game). 

(Christian Bender/Ryerson Rams Athletics)

“I loved the feeling of being in the moment of a game, playing alongside some of my best friends. Whether we won or lost, there was rarely a time I can admit to when I didn’t enjoy myself,” she said. 

One of the PWHPA’s goals in creating a sustainable league for women’s hockey players is ensuring that women are able to make a living playing their sport rather than having to split their time between hockey and another career. Salaries in women’s hockey are far lower than in men’s hockey and the vast majority of women can’t make hockey their main focus or source of income. Murphy is no exception. 

In addition to playing hockey at an elite level, Murphy is pursuing a career in medicine. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Medical Sciences in 2019 and is currently completing a Masters program in Applied Health Science at Brock. 

“Hockey has been a major part of my life since I was 6 years old. During my 5 years with Brock it became even more significant due to the time commitment and helped me stay well-rounded while managing my demanding school schedule. I would love to keep playing for as long as I can and keep hockey in my life while I pursue a career in medicine,” she said.

For many women’s hockey players, the highest level of competition they’ll reach will be at the University level. Players might opt to hang up their skates to focus on their other careers as hockey becomes harder to fit into their lives. Changing that is crucial to the growth of the game. 

Murphy is not the only Brock Badger continuing her career beyond U SPORTS, former teammate Christina Ieradi has also been announced as a PWHPA member after having spent two seasons playing in Germany after graduating. Kim Brown, another former Badger, plays for the Buffalo Beauts in the NWHL. 

(Christian Bender/Ryerson Rams Athletics)

Murphy’s talent has only grown as a goaltender since playing for Brock and she attributes her success to those around her. 

“I’d like to thank my friends and family for always supporting my passion for hockey, my head coach Margot Page, and goalie coach Lucas Lobsinger. I wouldn’t have had the success I had at Brock without them,” said Murphy.

Jensen Murphy is one of the best goaltenders in Canadian University hockey and she’ll be worth paying attention to for years to come. 

COVER PHOTO: Christian Bender/Ryerson Rams Athletics

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