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Having skates on his feet since a young age, Ty Murchison of ASU Hockey attributes his current skills to the support and influence of his family.
“I started in roller hockey, playing that until I was about 11 and then I made the transition over to ice hockey,” Murchison said. “My whole family played hockey, so yeah, it’s kind of been where I was gonna go from the start.”
With his father excelling in roller hockey and his mother being a figure skater, it’s no surprise that Murchison has become the standout defenseman for ASU’s impressive 2023 team.
While Murchison’s father didn’t quite reach the NHL level despite some stints with the Anaheim Ducks, it seems that Murchison is on a different path, showing potential for a different outcome.
The highly sought-after junior from Corona, California, has been dedicated to the next stage of his ice hockey journey for quite some time now. With an undisclosed number of years left with the Sun Devils, Murchison wasn’t always certain that the professional path, let alone the ice hockey path, was his destined route.
“Honestly, when I first started ice hockey, (pro) wasn’t even really in my family’s heads,” Murchison said. “You know, my dad grew up playing and so I thought I would try it out.”
From the court to the ice
Embarking on his journey following his father’s footsteps in roller hockey, it wasn’t until late middle school that Murchison initially decided to pursue ice hockey.
That all came to a change when Murchison had played in a roller hockey tournament against a few young players who now find themselves playing at Boston College.
One of those kids Murchison faced in that tournament years ago is now the current forward for the Eagles, Andre Gasseau.
“(Gasseau’s) dad saw me in a roller hockey tournament and they needed an extra defenseman so he asked me to come out and play with them,” Murchison said. “Then I ended up sticking with them all the way until 16 Triple A.”
Now, he was playing alongside those future Boston College players that were once his opponents. Being part of one of the nation’s top teams and coached by former AHL player James Gasseau, Murchison was gradually establishing himself as one of the country’s top prospects.
His skill was evident as he made a nearly seamless transition from roller hockey to ice hockey thanks to some of those natural genes that he inherited from his parents.
“I had most of it down,” Murchison said. “You know, I grew up watching the NHL (and) it was really just the edges that was the big change for me. But that was kind of something we tackled fairly early on just working with a skating coach.”
Facing the absence of ice hockey programs in his high school, Murchison moved his skills to the U17 and U18 national teams.
During Murchison’s U17 season, he played in 43 games, registering two goals and six assists. Taking a significant leap the following year with the U18 team, he participated in 49 games and contributed seven goals along with eight assists.
The skilled teams Murchison had been a part of since his youth were proving to be crucial assets in shaping the trajectory of his future.
“I was fortunate enough to start out on a pretty good team that was always highly ranked and got a decent amount of attention,” Murchison said. “I had a lot of teammates that were getting recruited by colleges.”
With a ranking as the No. 72 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting during high school, Murchison found his university options expanding before him.
How many calls?
In comes ASU.
Fresh off being selected in the WHL (Western Hockey League) Draft by the Portland Winterhawks, Murchison was chosen in the third round, 63rd overall, marking a significant achievement midway through his sophomore year in high school.
Simultaneously, the Sun Devils had also begun to initiate contact with the young star.
“They reached out to me pretty early, I’m not exactly sure what age but I want to say it was around 15,” Murchison said. “You know, that was at a point where some kids were committing but my family didn’t really want me to make a decision like that until I was old enough to know where I really wanted to go.”
Keeping ASU in the back of his mind while continuing to enjoy his youth ice hockey career, ASU head coach Greg Powers made sure he kept a bug in his ear about how much The Valley wanted him.
Following numerous conversations with ASU during which Murchison informed them, along with other schools, that he intended to take his time with his decision, the situation took a definitive turn.
This happened while Murchison was at the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in Michigan and he received another call from Powers.
“He let me know that they were getting the brand-new arena and what their team was going to look like and what they saw in me and believed I could do,” Murchison said. “That was kind of when I really started to talk to them seriously and ended up making a decision that winter.”
In a much-anticipated commitment to ASU, on December 29, 2020, concluding the winter of his senior year, Murchison announced his decision to become a Sun Devil.
The decision has certainly panned out to be beneficial for Murchison who played in all 35 games his rookie season with the 17-17-1 Sun Devils while recording four goals including two game-winning goals, three assists and 52 blocks.
In his sophomore season, the Sun Devils struggled more than the prior year with a 18-21 record. Murchison recorded two goals, four assists and 50 blocks while notching a career high of nine blocks against Boston College – remember them?
With ASU off to its hottest start since Murchison joined, boasting an 11-3-2 record, he has contributed one assist, tallying one point and 20 blocks in just 17 games.
The revamped Sun Devil team has quickly found their rhythm, clicking early on and appears to be on track for one of their most successful seasons to date.
“Obviously it was a very different makeup of the team this year, very different from what we’ve had in previous years,” Murchison said. “A lot of new guys, but every single guy that came in bought in right away. For me, it’s been the most special team I’ve been on. I think we can go really far and I really believe in this group.”
As a future NHL star, Murchison places utmost importance on leading his team to a stellar season.
“Obviously, the NHL is my final goal,” Murchison said. “But right now, I’m just focused on what this team can do because team success leads to individual success.”
A Philadelphia Flyer
Murchison’s aspirations of reaching the NHL are already well within his reach.
In fact, he already carries the official title of an NHL player.
On July 24, 2021, Murchison was selected 158th overall in the fifth round of the NHL draft by the Philadelphia Flyers.
In a video posted to his social media pages, Murchison was sat upon a big white couch while surrounded by nearly ten members of his closest family and friends as they nervously awaited to hear his name called.
Finally, his moment came.
“It was amazing. We were actually in Arizona, it was during my summer before my freshman year and all the freshmen come into town to train, so my family was out here with me,” Murchison said. “We had a good day. It’s a long day for sure, it’s nerve wracking. But I mean, once I heard my name called it was one of the best moments of my life.”
Opting to remain with his original decision to play for the Sun Devils for a few years, the 20-year-old is currently representing the two teams while at ASU.
With the stellar season that the team is putting together in 2023, Murchison will reevaluate his decision at the conclusion of this season on whether he wants to finish out his career at ASU or make his move to the next level with the NHL.
On top of 20 blocks this season, Murchison is also sixth in the country in penalty minutes with 23 minutes in 17 games.
A stat that seems fitting when thinking about what the city of Philadelphia represents.
When thinking about teams such as the Eagles, the 76ers and the Phillies, one envisions a specific type of fan and team.
You know the one.
“I think especially for Philly, they have that nitty gritty kind of play in that city,” Murchison said. “I think that fits right in with how I play. So yeah, that’s where I see myself.”
With an NHL pick already secured and entering his third season with the Sun Devils, the potential for Murchison is truly limitless.
Murchison has been working for this and wasted no time in answering the question of where he sees himself five years from now.
“I see myself being a top four defenseman for the flyers,” Murchison. “Being a guy that fans and the team can rely on to play consistently every night, is gonna play tough (and) try and rub the other team the wrong way.”
Considering what he has already showcased at his young age, these goals are well within Murchison’s reach.
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