hese days, it is not considered overly crazy to shuttle your kid hours to practice for a hockey team. When Tom Murley did it in the 1980s and ’90s, it probably raised a few more eyebrows.
However, Syracuse hockey coach Don Kirnan saw the Murley family only as a dedicated group, not an unwanted headache. "His father and mother are just world-class parents. They’re just great people," the legendary coach noted.
It was a trait shared by many of the hockey parents of the players of that era. "They would help everybody," Don admired. "They tried to make everybody better."
Kirnan certainly made his impact, as well. He dealt with a wealth of talent in those years — Brian Gionta, Tim Connolly and more — and all benefitted from each other. They all had their talents and edges, and Kirnan remembers Matt Murley’s mind being especially elite. He would even be so bold to compare it to a distinguished legend. "The reason Gordie (Howe, who Kirnan actually watched live) could play so late in the career is that he knew enough about the game that he knew a second before anybody else where the puck was going to be. That was (Matty’s) thing."