Defenseman Matt Murphy Is A Proven Winner

Defenseman Matt Murphy Is A Proven Winner

Ask enough about Iowa Heartlanders defenseman Matt Murphy and you’ll hear it again and again.


It’s not a bad trait to be associated with, and one the 27-year-old blueliner has earned in the utmost measure, with a collection of championship rings from almost every stop he’s made.

2022 Kalamazoo Wings vs. Iowa Heartlanders

After a while it stops being random.

He won a Memorial Cup with the Halifax Mooseheads, two uSports titles with the University of New Brunswick, and then the Kelly Cup in his rookie pro season in the ECHL, helping the Fort Wayne Komets win the 2020-2021 season.

Winning seems to follow only Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, natively.


Well, that’s a tough question to answer when you’re the one doing everything.

“I think I had this taste of winning from a young age, and when it’s that young you figure out what it takes to win,” Murphy told FloHockey via cellphone. “To be perfectly honest, I’ve just been very fortunate to play on really good teams with really good coaches and I think if you’ve done that and learned from other players what it takes to do that, I’ve got it trying to do my best on every team I’ve been on to help create a winning atmosphere.”

Success often creates momentum. Before you know it, everyone is in the excitement.

“I think a winning atmosphere can be very contagious, and when one guy starts, everyone starts following him,” Murphy added. “Once you start winning you gain momentum and once you’ve built that confidence within a team it’s difficult to beat a team like that.”

Back at the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League after being recalled December 8, Murphy had the best start of his career that year with the Heartlanders. In his first 13 games, he recorded five goals and 12 assists en route to emerging as an unlikely early riser and All-Star Game contender.

He has once again found a way to combine his experience and confidence to lead on the ice.

“It’s hard to pinpoint a specific factor, but I came here from the wilds after spending the first almost month and a half with them at Des Moines and I just gained some confidence in getting my game back,” he said. “When I was sent to the Heartlanders I came here with a lot of confidence but I knew by the time I got there they were struggling so I wanted to come down and help them win.”

2022 Iowa Heartlanders vs. Kansas City Mavericks

Murphy hoped he could use his experience with winning teams to lead the offense and turn things around.

“I know it was difficult even before I got here,” Murphy said. “I think the team was 0-5, and our record is (up to) 4-9-2-1 or something like that, so it’s been a tough stretch in the last 15 or so games with winning. But, we’re a young team and a lot of forwards who started in the E are now at Des Moines with injuries and stuff like that.”

Simple enough, the work doesn’t end there. The goal, of course, is that it ultimately pays off.

“You have to work at it every day,” Murphy said. “In the last couple of games we’ve picked up points, about six out of our last 10 games or so, so I think we’re turning the corner. The biggest thing I’m trying to get across is that you “You have to stay positive, but at the same time you have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and hold yourself accountable.”

2022 Iowa Heartlanders vs. Kansas City Mavericks

For now, however, Murphy is back in the AHL, having signed a two-way, one-year deal during the offseason after earning numerous PTOs with the Belleville Senators, Providence Bruins and Abbotsford Canucks.

“Being able to sign a contract and prepare and know exactly where it’s going, especially last year when I was on an (ECHL) contract and starting the year in Belleville and there were several different teams. said Murphy. “It was really nice to do something in the off-season where I could really focus on where I was going to be.”

It was both a logical and well-deserved next step for the 6-foot-2, 196-pound veteran left-shot blueliner who hopes to stay at this level sooner rather than later.

“The systems were a little bit different than here in Iowa City, but it’s nothing drastic and they’re trying to synchronize everything pretty well,” he concluded. “Being up there with these kinds of players and these coaches showed me what I have to do to stay at this level. It’s all just trying to adapt and learn from these people what you need to work on to be able to do it.”

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