Polish Triangle ‘enforcer’ earns way onto Team USA play in Lake Placid

Before making the U18 national team, Madelyn Murphy played eight years of Dorchester Youth Hockey on its co-ed teams and as a captain on the Dexter-Southfield varsity girls’ hockey team. She also plays club hockey for Assabet Valley in Concord, Mass.
Photo courtesy USA Hockey

When Dorchester’s Madelyn Murphy laces up her skates, don’t expect to see kid gloves play on the ice; in fact, she takes the gloves off whenever she plays.

Aggressive, offensive-minded and self-described as “sometimes rough,” Murphy burst onto the national hockey scene this summer in making the U18 USA Women’s Select Hockey team and participating in its Rivalry Series with Canada in Lake Placid, NY, last month. Before that, she participated in the 2023 USA Hockey Festival in Lake Placid with games against the Swedish U18 team.

“I didn’t expect it at all; it just kind of happened,” said the 16-year-old Murphy in an interview after returning to Dorchester. “I obviously wasn’t the best one at the camp, but I learned a lot. It was amazing to play with all these girls who are older, and most are headed to college. It was great to know the level of intensity that it takes to play in college or possibly beyond…In that kind of environment, you’ve got to go 100 percent all the time. There’s no sitting back.”

Her mother, Katie, said her drive is all her own, and her family is incredibly proud. “She did it herself. We drove her everywhere at the crack of dawn for hockey games and practices, but she did it herself. I think it had to do with always having to keep up with her older brother and sister. There were lots of hockey games she attended to watch them play and knee hockey around the house happened all the time. I think that had a lot to do with it.”

Dorchester’s Madelyn Murphy in action at the Team USA Hockey U18 Rivalry Series in Lake Placid, NY, in August. Parker O’Brien photo/courtesy Lake Placid News & Adirondack Daily Enterprise

With most of the girls on the U18 team headed off to college, and Murphy entering her junior year in high school, this month’s experience was a unique opportunity for her to show her stuff. While the USA team got swept by Canada in the three-game Series, they played tough – none more than Murphy, who was the enforcer on the team and, as such, logged several penalty minutes against Canada.

She made it clear during the game that she isn’t afraid to be active in the defensive zone and go down ice to try to score. “There’s a saying for defensemen that you never let anyone beat you to the net. The puck maybe can go through, but never the player. I definitely live by that and I’m definitely an aggressive player.”

Murphy lives in the Polish Triangle with her father, Jimmy, her mother, and her siblings, Kaitlyn (19), James (17), and Christopher (8). She started school at the Perry School in South Boston, and in the fifth grade transferred to Dexter-Southfield School in Brookline, where she has been ever since.

Her hockey career began with the Learn to Skate program at Dorchester Youth Hockey (DYH), and then in the SCORE Boston program. After that, she played eight years of co-ed hockey with DYH – the only girl on the roster – during which time her team won a state championship and a league championship.

“I loved Dorchester and I think Dorchester is a great program,” she said. “Here I was the only girl on the team for eight years and I still felt like ‘one of the boys,’ so to speak…Jeff Hampton was my coach for five years, but he always believed in me from day one.”

Murphy also credits her hockey coach at Dexter-Southfield, Maggie Taverna, for helping her to believe that she belonged with elite players. She made the varsity team in 8th grade, but it took time to get to the level she’s at now.

“I was there on the bench, little 8th grade me, getting no shifts most of the time. Now I’m probably the top defensemen on the team,” she said.

Her USA Hockey journey started when she heard about a tryout last summer for the U15 USA Hockey Development Camp but didn’t at first grasp the significance of what that could mean for her. Neither did her mother.

Said Katie: “She sent me a text with the link to the USA Development Camp and asked me if I would sign her up. I had no idea. I thought I was signing her up for some kind of summer camp.”

This summer, she returned and tried out at a rink in Rockland for the 16- and 17-year-old development camp. Only 100 girls made it through, and Murphy went on to be in the ‘Final 40’ group. When officials thinned the roster for the 16- and 17-year-old development camp, her name wasn’t on it. However, her name was over on the side with a note that she’d made the U18 group instead.

It was jubilation, she said, for her and her family, because the next step was attending camp at the University of Miami-Ohio in July after which the players for the Festival at Lake Placid in August would be selected.

“You get in a room with all the girls at the U18 camp in Ohio,” she recalled. “There’s a PowerPoint on the board and then the USA Coaches are up there going through it. If you see your name, you’ve made it to the festival. You either see your name or you don’t. I saw my name.”

At the Aug. 6-13 festival, Murphy continued to shine, and played well enough to once again survive a PowerPoint selection process and make the final roster comprising the 23 best girls hockey players in America.

When not on the ice, Murphy is an elite soccer player. She started playing in Dorchester Youth Soccer (DYS) and has played with the varsity at Dexter-Southfield and in club soccer for Commonwealth FC in Braintree.

This summer is the start of the NCAA recruiting period for coaches, and Murphy and her mother said they’ve gotten a lot of attention from colleges and universities – though she’s still two years from graduation.

The fun of Team USA also might not be over. Murphy said she’s looking forward to an opportunity in January to play with the U18 team at the World Championships in Switzerland.

“I don’t know if I’m going to that or not,” she said. “I’ll get a call in November saying that I’m going or not. That’s how it works.”

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