Tonight in Boston, NHL Linesman Brian Murphy will reach an impressive milestone and become only the 8th official in the history of the National Hockey League to have worked 2,000 NHL Regular Season Games. The veteran linesman will be working his 2,000th game tonight when the Columbus Blue Jackets play the Bruins at TD Garden. He will be joined on the ice for this special assignment by fellow referees Chris Rooney and Wes McCauley while his partner on the lines will be veteran linesman Tim Nowak.
Murphy is a Dover, New Hampshire native, a small town just over an hour north of Boston. The 1982 Dover High School graduate, where he was a goalie for the school hockey team started officiating while attending college in the fall of 1983. He was a business major at the University of New Hampshire and was also driving the Zamboni at his local rink to earn a few bucks. Shortly after he learned that the refs coming in to do men’s league games were making more money than him, he decided to give it a try! He really enjoyed it from the start and things started to evolve from there. Murphy credits his former high school hockey coach, Dan Raposa for being a major influence in his officiating journey. Raposa, who was at the time a USA Hockey and Hockey East referee got him started and helped him getting into the USA Hockey development program.
He officiated New Hampshire high school hockey, 2 years in the American Hockey League and the Hockey East college hockey conference. In 1988 Murphy was selected to work the “Beanpot”, Hockey East and NCAA Division 1 championship games. Through USA Hockey he attended summer development camps and the 1986 and 87 US Olympic Festivals where Bryan Lewis and John McCauley from the National Hockey League scouted him.
The National Hockey League hired him under a minor league linesman contract in the summer of 1988 and made his NHL debut not long after on October 7th, 1988 in Washington when the Pittsburgh Penguins were in town to play the Capitals. He was promoted to full-time NHL linesman status in the summer of 1990.
Murphy who has now been under contract with the NHL for over three decades has built an impressive resume as an official. The man wearing jersey number 93 has worked; one NHL All-Star game (1999 in Tampa), two World Cup of Hockey (2004 & 2016), one Winter Classic game (2010 at Boston Fenway Park), the 2010 Winter Olympics (Vancouver) and has been selected to work an impressive 9 Stanley Cup Finals (1995,1996, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2013, 2015, 2016 & 2017).
Tonight will be his 1,912th game as a linesman, he also has 88 NHL games under his belt as a referee as he is one of only a few officials to have worked NHL games both as a referee and linesman. In the early years of the NHL transitioning to the two-referee system, Murphy decided to leave the lines and try to become a full time referee instead, taking advantage of a program that the NHL offered to a few veteran linesmen in order to fill the demand of the new system for more NHL referees in a short amount of time. He spent the next few seasons as a referee, spending time between the American Hockey League (AHL) and the NHL before deciding to return to the lines for good. His dedication to the game of hockey and the world of officiating is second to none. He has been involved with the USA Hockey development program for over three decades now and he is still to this day heavily involved, giving his personal time to help the next generation of officials. Murphy as also been voted by his peers to served on the NHL Official Association executive board from 1994-1999 and 2004 to 2013 where he held the position of the NHLOA President for 8 years (2005-2013). In 2018 he earned his Masters in Business Administration degree from Southern New Hampshire University.
The NHLOA would like to congratulate linesman Brian Murphy for this amazing milestone. Well done “Murph”!