Stephen James Murphy (born 11 December 1981) is a professional ice hockey goaltender born in Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom.
Murphy began playing ice hockey at the very young age of 5. He made his first professional appearances at the age of 16 with the Paisley Pirates, a team then icing in the BNL. Murphy made two appearances for the Pirates during the 1997/98 season before moving on to the Fife Flyers. Whilst in Fife, Murphy helped the Flyers win the Scottish Cup. He established himself as the Flyers' first choice goaltender despite his young age and in the 1998/99 season recorded a respectable GAA of 3.61 and a save percentage of .918.
In 1999, at the age of 17, Murphy became the goaltender for the Great Britain National Team and played on five occasions for them in the World Junior Championships, proving himself to be a reliable last line of defence. This solidified his position as the Flyers' first choice goaltender and he continued to play for them during the 1999/00 season, featuring in the BNL as well as the B&H Cup and the Christmas Cup. Once again the Flyers made the post-season, with Murphy playing every game in the playoffs.
In 2000, Murphy moved to the United States to sign for the Omaha Lancers, of the USHL. He failed to make an appearance and moved mid-season to the Cleveland Barons. Again Murphy failed to make a start but learned considerably from his time in the USA. He finished the 2000/01 season back in Scotland, once again playing for the Flyers. In the summer of 2001, Murphy played again for the Team GB junior squad but also featured for the senior team where he recorded an excellent 1.97 goals against average and a .917 save percentage.
Murphy remained in Scotland for the 2001/02 term, although he signed for the Dundee Stars and played alongside British hockey great Tony Hand for the first time at club level. Murphy played 43 games for the Stars in the regular season and made 10 post season appearances, again proving his worth despite his young age. He again appeared for Team GB in 2002, in the World Cup. Murphy remained in his hometown of Dundee for the 2002/03 season, whilst the British ice hockey organisation was undergoing considerable restructuring. Here he played with Hand for a second spell.
A move followed for the 2003/04 term, this time to the Bracknell Bees, a team now playing in the transitional BNL following the collapse of the ISL. Murphy played just 8 regular season games for the Bees due to a shoulder injury which kept him off the ice for the remainder of the season. He moved into European hockey for the 2004/05 season. He found regular games with Swedish Division 1 team Bräcke IK. Murphy proved to be an excellent signing for Bräcke and became known for his speed and agility. After 3 months, Murphy was poached by the higher level Allsvenskan team IF Björklöven to play out the remainder of the season for them. Murphy adapted to the change in standard well, and completed the season as a Björklöven player. They failed to make the post-season however and so Murphy returned to Scotland to play in three post-season games for the Stars.
The following season, after again playing for Team GB, Murphy returned to the Allsvenskan to ice for IFK Arboga IK. Arboga struggled in the league but managed to retain their Allsvenskan place through playing in the end of season relegation playoffs. Arboga struggled financially however, prompting Murphy to return to the United Kingdom and play for the Edinburgh Capitals in the recently established EIHL, now the top level of ice hockey in the UK following the lengthy restructuring process.
Murphy played every regular season game for the Capitals, and won the EIHL 'Best British Goaltender' award for his play. Despite this, the Capitals failed to make the EIHL post-season as they struggled for regular goalscorers. Murphy returned to Scandinavia and Norway to ice for Stjernen Hockey, a team playing in the GET-ligaen, the top club league in Norway. In 36 regular season games, Murphy recorded a 3.18 GAA and a .901 PCT.
In the summer of 2008, Murphy was persuaded to once again play alongside Tony Hand, with Hand now acting as player/coach of the EIHL Manchester Phoenix. Murphy had proved an excellent signing for the Phoenix and has once again established himself as the organisation's first choice goaltender. A solid season followed for Murphy, who helped the Phoenix to both the Knockout and Challenge Cup finals and once again was awarded Best British Goaltender. Despite the on-ice success, the Phoenix withdrew from the EIHL at the end of the season in favour of playing in the EPL, going on to sign Steve Fone as first choice goaltender. Murphy chose to remain in the EIHL however, and move on to the Belfast Giants.