Playing with the Team USA U18 hockey squad, Abbey Murphy has piled up some hardware in recent years, winning two gold medals and a silver.
She’s traveled to Russia, Japan and Slovakia and has savored every opportunity to wear the U.S.A. jersey.
As she’s gained invaluable international experience, Murphy has kept looking forward to one goal: to make the U.S. national team and play in the Olympics.
Now, she’s one step closer.
Murphy, a 2020 Mother McAuley High School graduate, is one of 27 players named to the 2021-22 U.S. Women’s National Team Residency program that will begin in October.
“I got chills when they told me I’d been named to the program,” Murphy said. “It was a very happy moment. I’ve never been satisfied. I want to make the Olympic roster. It’s one more cut to make. I’ll do my thing and try to prove I belong.”
Murphy is an Evergreen Park resident and graduate of Most Holy Redeemer Elementary School. She finished the 2021 spring semester of her freshman year at the University of Minnesota.
The residency program will begin in October at Super Rink in Blaine, Minn., in preparation for the 2022 Winter Olympic games in Beijing.
The final 23-player roster will be announced in late December or early January.
While Murphy trains with the other national team prospects, she will not lose a year of eligibility at Minnesota.
“I’ll get that year back. I could not be happier,” Murphy said. “It’s going to be an awesome year.”
Prepping for the residency program, Murphy received even more good news when she found out she had been named to the 25-player U.S. roster that will compete at the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship Aug. 21-30 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
“Every time you hear you’ve made a roster like this, there’s a huge level of excitement,” Murphy said. “The World roster and the residency program, I got chills for both of them. Every time, it gives you that push. I know what I have to do.”
For Murphy, a 5’5” forward, it’s another huge bit of news following an impressive freshman year at Minnesota.
She finished second in scoring for the Golden Gophers with 18 points, totaling 8 goals (on 39 shots) and 10 assists.
However, the year got off to a dubious start when Murphy was diagnosed with COVID-19 on just her second day on campus.
Relegated to a solo 10-day quarantine in her dorm room, she did her best to stay busy. Murphy was not showing any symptoms and felt OK throughout the stretch.
In order to get by as the days ticked off, Murphy watched a ton of Neftlix, improvised some workouts, jumped rope and faithfully maintained a daily routine.
With frequent Zoom and FaceTime calls from family and friends, she endured the quarantine and was then allowed to return to her team and meet her teammates.
“It was terrible. I had no symptoms, but I was so scared,” Murphy said. “I was alone in my room for 10 days. It was tough, but you get through it. My family helped me so much.”
Returning to the ice for the entire season, Murphy scored her first goal on Nov. 27 in a 4-2 win over Minnesota-Duluth, knocking in a rebound.
The next day, she got her first collegiate assist.
The Golden Gophers finished 11-8-1, but as Murphy said, the season was about more than just the team’s win-loss record.
“I love my team and love the coaching staff,” Murphy said. “It was the best year. I couldn’t imagine being somewhere else. You learn a lot, especially to take nothing for granted. We were lucky we got to play. You learn so much about hockey, but as teammates, you learn more about each other. We got through the season together.”
Murphy said it was an adjustment playing at the Division I level, but one she worked hard to achieve.
It’s that never-give-up attitude that Murphy hopes will pay big dividends this fall and winter, hopefully resulting in a spot on the Olympics roster.
“College hockey was a lot different. It’s a big step,” Murphy said. “It’s a lot more aggressive, and everyone can beat you. For me, I’m a hard-worker who plays big, strong, fast and aggressive. I want to play as a team and do whatever we can to win.”