Among the many coaches in women’s hockey, Digit Murphy is part of an elite few whose inspiration has spanned generations. As a long-time coach of the prestigious Brown Bears in Providence, her first involvement with the IIHF Worlds came during 1992, marking the second time the tournament was held.
She was part of the coaching staff that would claim a silver medal in 1992 (which also marked the legendary Manon Rheaume’s debut at the IIHF Worlds). While Murphy is not part of the 2013 US coaching staff, one cannot help but see her positive influence on the current generation of players competing for the coveted championship.
Currently serving as the head coach and general manager of the Boston Blades, Murphy led the Black and Gold to their first regular-season title in franchise history. In reaching the milestone, it also made Boston the first American-based franchise to win the regular-season title. The momentum would continue as she led Boston to their first Clarkson Cup championship with a 5-2 victory over the two-time defending champion Montreal Stars.
While her roster is a venerable who’s who of women’s hockey, almost a dozen of the players on her roster will be representing their respective nations at the IIHF Worlds. Although most of those players are from the United States, Murphy also boasts two other special players.
Goaltender Genevieve Lacasse first came to the attention of New England hockey fans as she rewrote the record books of the Providence Friars. In building her legacy as a New England hockey legend, Lacasse had a 2013 to remember as she won the CWHL Goaltender of the Year Award and was between the pipes for the Blades’ Clarkson Cup title. She is Canada’s goalie of the future and shall serve as the backup to Shannon Szabados on the Canadian roster this year.
Hailing from the Czech Republic, Katerina (Katka) Mrazova is another non-American player who has been privileged to learn from Murphy. Mrazova’s career benefited greatly from Murphy as her skills improved under her tutelage.
With the Blades having played the Russian National Team in autumn of 2012, Mrazova had the opportunity to augment her experience as an international player. In addition, she is the first European player to have ever won the Clarkson Cup. This is the first time that the Czech Republic is competing at the IIHF Women’s Worlds.
The presence that Murphy brought to the Blades will certainly be of great benefit to the United States national team. During the season, national team members Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin, Molly Schaus, Jen Schoullis, Anne Schleper and Kelley Steadman all competed for the Blades.
Murphy’s acumen and knowledge were also on hand in another unique capacity. As an initiative to help improve numerous countries that were struggling in the game, Murphy was among a group of players and coaches that participated in the IIHF Mentorship and Ambassador Program. Assigned to assist Slovakia, there is no telling how many future stars will have been influenced by her knowledge of the game.