Normally, by the end of a junior hockey player's run, referees have become a necessary impediment. This season, Troy Murray of the famed Notre Dame Hounds Junior A program in Wilcox, Sask., has led a double life. When he's not manning the blueline for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team, the 20-year-old from Regina is lining in the Western Hockey League.
It's a unique situation — sometimes the referees who work Murray's games are also his colleagues in the WHL. The proof of experience as a linesman paying off on the ice might be reflected by the fact he cut his penalty minutes in half during his overage season, spending 58 minutes in the box after sitting out 117 as a 19-year-old.
From CTV Regina's Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_CTV):
Murray is the son of Tampa Bay Lightning scout Al Murray (who was previously head scout for Hockey Canada, where his duty involved helping pick the national junior team each December). It goes without saying the speed of hockey makes perfect refereeing an impossibility and often a call is made because of what appeared to happen. Since joining the striped-shirt fraternity, Troy Murray says he's come to understand
"It helps — you know what is a penalty and what isn't a penalty," Troy Murray told CTV Regina. "Sometimes you know when you can get away with stuff."
"Having the eye of a referee and the eye of a player helps him in any given situation," added Hounds coach Kevin White. "He's always talking to the refs about their calls and whatnot. You can tell he's definitely got the ref mind going, too."
Ironically, Stewart-Binks' feature synced up with a playoff game where Murray was in the penalty box when the Melville Millionaires bagged the winning goal on a power play. That is his only penalty through four playoff games. However far he goes as a player, Troy Murray might have found another way into the sport.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org (video: CTV Regina).