Last Updated: November 21, 2008 7:33 PM
Brandon Hicks Minor Memories
Troy Murray spent 15 years in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Avalanche and the Chicago Blackhawks. He spent most of his years with the Blackharks, winning a Selke trophy as best defensive forward in the league in 1985-86. Murray is now a colour commentator for Blackhawks games on Newstalk 720 WGN Radio.
CBC Sports: How did you get into hockey?
Murray: "Growing up in Canada, it was kind of the natural thing to do. As soon as you're old enough, they put you on skates and throw you out there on the ice. I was four years old, I started my minor league hockey in Saskatoon-- I was there for another four years and then moved to St. Albert, where I played the majority of my minor hockey with the St. Albert organization"
CBC Sports: What was the first game you can remember playing?
Murray: "Actually when I was really young, my father was my coach, and back in those days we used to play in outdoor rinks. The schedule was that you didn't play any indoor games, you played all your games on the outdoor rinks. We had the long pom-pom toques that we used to wear underneath our helmets, and I remember he came in and put that toque on me and said, 'You have to wear this underneath your helmet.' I remember that game because we were all putting our toques on underneath our helmets and I thought that was pretty cool.
"The game was good-- it was cold. You wore gloves underneath your hockey gloves, obviously you had long underwear, couple pairs of socks. All the schoolyards had two rinks with a little warming house, and in between periods you come in and you'd stomp your feet on the ground to get your circulation going again."
CBC Sports: Who was your funniest teammate, and why?
Murray: "Oh goodness, funniest teammate. Actually one of the funniest guys is now one of the assistant coaches here in Chicago, Marc Bergevin. He had quite a sense of humour on him, he can certainly lighten up a locker room when it needed to be done. He was just a jokester, he always had little things, little tricks he would do. Like have a spoon and a coffee cup and you'd walk in, and he'd pretend to spill the coffee but it would be stuck on the spoon. Just little things like that is what he would do."
CBC Sports: Where was the most memorable tournament you ever played, and why?
Murray: "You know, as a kid I played in that Quebec (International Peewee) tournament, and for a western team to go out, it was major. We had to sell raffle tickets for a whole winter-- we went out door-to-door so we could raise enough money to go out east and play in that tournament, so that was special, that was the first one that I really remember.
"I had never been to Montreal or Quebec City before, and I remember being on the subway in Montreal, we went to a Canadiens hockey game, and in Quebec City the carnival was going on. For a young kid to go out there, it was quite an experience, and we were billeted with French-speaking families so that was a unique situation."
CBC Sports: Where was the worst arena you've ever played at? What was it like?
Murray: "Growing up, there were obviously some bad rinks. Being in St. Albert, we played all the little surrounding towns, and we had some pretty old barns that we played in. But I would say the worst building I ever played in the NHL was the old Cow Palace in San Jose before, they built the new rink. It was a rodeo facility. The visiting locker room was upstairs, and we had to go up into what looked like an old office section that they had switched into the visiting team's locker room. We had to climb up these stairs, and go into these little rooms, and it smelled like a rodeo. And it was cold. It was by far the worst professional facility I've ever been in."
CBC Sports: Where was the coldest game of hockey you ever played? Describe it.
Murray: "The games that we played outdoors as kids, I mean, it was cold. The parents would come out, they'd jump onto the rink and shovel the snow in between periods, get the snow off and we'd go back out there. By the time the game was over our soles were frozen, our cheeks were red.
"That's the way they did it back in those days, there was no Zambonis or anything on these outdoor rinks, at the end of the night the local city crew would come out with the hose and spray everything down. But in between games it was snowing and our parents had to scrape the ice, push it into a pile, take a big scoop shovel and throw it over the boards."
CBC Sports: Who was the most memorable hockey parent you ever met? Why?
Murray: "I would have to say two guys, Tom White and Maurice Chabot. Tom back out west had his own business-- we were sponsored by his company and they got us our own jerseys and jackets, rather than just the local stuff. That was kind of special as a young kid, we'd all be wearing these jackets-- now it's very common, but back in those days it was a completely special thing for us. He made us feel like we were really special compared to the other teams that we would play on.
"Maurice was a French-Canadian living out west and made it fun to play hockey-- we did all kinds of team stuff, he had the parents get together at his place all the time. I remember as a kid running around his house, the parents had their adult beverages, and it was just really fun. We had a good team and as a kid I remember just having such a fun time with him."