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Murphy Joins Blackhawks Sled Forward at USA Hockey Classic

Monday, February 11, 2019, 10:11AM
Chicago Blackhawks' Defenseman Connor Murphy Joins Chicago Blackhawks Tier I Forward Brody Roybal During USA Hockey Sled Classic

Chicago defenseman experiences firsthand "talent, speed" athletes need to compete

by Tracey Myers/NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Connor Murphy wasn't content to watch sled hockey. The Chicago Blackhawks' defenseman wanted to see if he could do it himself.  Murphy got into a sled and joined Chicago Blackhawks Tier I forward Brody Roybal for a few minutes during the USA Hockey Sled Classic, presented by the NHL, at MB Ice Arena on Friday. The 25-year-old Murphy said it definitely wasn't easy.

"The balance was the hardest part," he said. "I was more surprised with how tiring it was. It was the focus and the core strength that was a lot harder. I thought the blades [on the bottom of the sled], being a couple of inches apart, were going to hold you up more. But they don't. It definitely takes some core strength. But the blades have good glide. They're sharp, kind of like our blades, so once you get going you can get a little speed."

Murphy was on the ice for about 15 minutes with Roybal, who scored three goals in Chicago's 9-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Tier I game. Murphy said Roybal gave him a few tips, including how to handle turns, but Murphy didn't do very well on those.  "I didn't really figure out turning; I was just crashing into walls and nets," Murphy said. "He's a talented player, so I was lucky to have him give me a few pointers."

Murphy first watched sled hockey a few years ago and was amazed at the game.  "They were just flying," Murphy said. "It was insane just to see the talent and speed and athleticism they have. You just want to see what that feels like. You gain so much more respect for it, more than you already had, which is high. It's cool to see the different sleds and the strength that guys have with them."