High school junior is making her way up national team ranks like her friend and role model Coyne Schofield did
By Greg Bates, Special to AHAI
When a young Abbey Murphy sought a hockey role model, she didn’t have to look too far to find a perfect person in Kendall Coyne Schofield.
Coyne Schofield was born in Oak Lawn and went on to be a standout for the Chicago Mission. She has been an integral member of the USA Hockey Women’s National Team, winning five world championship gold medals and one Olympic gold medal. Her hockey career has been remarkable.
Murphy, who resides in Evergreen Park, is currently having an electrifying career with the Mission and is an up-and-coming star for Team USA. She has been on the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team for the past two years, capturing gold at the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship in 2018.
Once in awe of her idol, Murphy, 16, has become friends with the 26-year-old Coyne Schofield.
“It’s been awesome to get to know her and be on the ice with her in the Chicagoland area,” Coyne Schofield said. “I’ve just been telling her to enjoy the moment, enjoy having on that USA jersey because it doesn’t come easy.
“It’s funny to see her coming up on the same type of path that I did, almost identical. I know her goals. I know her dreams, and I see her drive and I think she can go as far as she wants to.”
Murphy has used Coyne Schofield as a valuable resource to answer questions and offer advice.
“She’s been there to push me and tell me that it’s a lot of fun and how you never get sick of it and you’ve just got to keep going,” said Murphy, who recently helped the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team take silver at the 2019 U18 World Championship in Obihiro, Japan. “But enjoy the experience while you have it because it goes by fast.”
Said Coyne Schofield: “I just want to be an open door for her — be able to answer questions, be a person to skate with in the summer and train with. But ultimately be there as a good friend and a good teammate, and hopefully we’re on the same roster one day. I don’t know if it’s possible, I hope it is.”
Murphy is the future of American women’s hockey. The forward is a dynamic goal scorer who can do magical things with the puck on her stick.
“She has all the talent in the world, but I don’t think she realizes it,” Coyne Schofield said. “That’s a good thing because she continues to work extremely hard. I can definitely see her representing the United States in the Olympic Games one day for sure.”
It’s still early in Murphy’s young, impressive hockey career. At the 10U level, Murphy played for the St. Jude Hockey Club. She then latched onto the Mission and has played at every age level from 12U on. Last year with the 16Us, Murphy helped the Mission capture a national championship. She is hoping to get back to nationals this April with the 19U squad.
Playing for the Mission has really transformed Murphy into a complete hockey player.
“I learned a lot, especially from my coach Tony Cachey. He’s taught me so much throughout these years,” Murphy said. “I’ve been here since 12U and he’s been by my side through the whole thing. Just like the girls, they know what I’m going through and everything and they’re always by my side supporting me, helping me, teaching me new things.”
Murphy became a regular playing on Team USA squads in 2017. She has competed on the last two U.S. Under-18 Women’s Select Teams that play in an Under-18 Series against Canada. Murphy has also participated in the 2017 and ’18 USA Hockey Women’s National Festivals as well as been a member of the Girls U18 Select Player Development Camps the past two years.
Switching off playing for the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team and the Mission has been interesting.
“Obviously going from skating with all these USA girls and coming back to the Mission, it’s a lot different,” Murphy said. “But I honestly just try and bring back that same intensity that I play out there back to the Mission and kind of push everyone else to skate hard every single time.”
Murphy also juggles her hectic hockey career with going to school. The junior at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School has had to miss a ton of school, especially during international trips. However, her teachers and administrators have been extremely supportive of her hockey dream.
“It is completely hard to juggle that, but when I go on these Mission tournaments, I usually bring my homework,” said Murphy, who will attend the University of Minnesota following high school. “Once I went to Japan, I didn’t bring anything. I kind of just wanted to focus on winning and everything, and the teachers told me not to worry about anything and just have fun and enjoy it.”
The biggest thrill of Murphy’s hockey career thus far was winning gold at the 2018 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship in Dmitrov, Russia. She had four goals and two assists in the tournament as the U.S. went a perfect 5-0.
“I had a lot of family and friends cheering back home, so all of them supporting us, it kind of made me feel really good and coming back home to a lot of them cheering me on and everything,” Murphy said. “All those (former players), they’re always texting us and tweeting and Instagramming ‘Good luck.’ I know even though we didn’t bring home the gold this year, they know that we worked really hard. I know that they’re proud of us, so that’s all we could do — and continue to make them proud.”
At 15, Murphy was the youngest player on the 2018 U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team. This year, she’s one of the veterans and leaders, which is a role she really enjoys.
“It’s one great experience, especially to start the year kind of being a leader towards the younger girls,” Murphy said. “But you never get sick of it putting on the jersey. It’s an honor to represent our country, especially with everyone that came in front of you.”
It’s been quite the hockey journey thus far for Murphy, and it’s just beginning. She’s already attracted the attention of young Chicago-area girls hockey players with her dynamic play on the ice.
“A lot of the younger kids look up to her and I think she’s starting to fill that role as a role model herself, which has been really, really cool to see,” Coyne Schofield said.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Image: OBIHIRO, JAPAN – JANUARY 7: USA’s Abbey Murphy #18 celebrates at the bench with teammates after scoring a third period goal against Canada during preliminary round action at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship at Obihiro Forest Sports Center on January 7, 2019 in Obihiro, Japan. (Photo by Steve Kingsman/HHOF-IIHF Images)