Joe Murphy is a former No. 1 overall pick, two-time 30-goal scorer and Stanley Cup champion. He's also now homeless living on the streets of Northern Ontario, which TSN revealed in a recent documentary titled, 'Finding Murph.'
He spent 15 seasons in the NHL, four of which were with the Blackhawks from 1992-96, and helped the Edmonton Oilers win a title in 1990. But the following season in 1991, Murphy's life began to change after taking a violent body check along the boards from Detroit Red Wings forward Shawn Burr.
"I do remember that he got hit very hard, to the point that I hadn't seen him have a reaction like this before," Murphy's ex-wife Julie said.
"Yeah, I definitely noticed changes," Murphy's sister Cathy said. "He was starting to do erratic things."
Murphy never quite lived up to the expectations that come with being the first overall pick and got himself in trouble on several different occasions towards the latter stages of his career, but his family believes a big reason for that was due to the head trauma he suffered as a player.
In the documentary, Murphy said he sought help from the director of NHL counseling after his career ended but "he hung the phone right up on me." Murphy was among the group of former players who were a part of the failed class-action concussion lawsuit against the NHL this year.
Here's what some members of the hockey community had to say about the situation:
I played with Joe Murphy in AHL and NHL. I can’t believe with all money the PA has and the revenues the NHL creates we have X Players that are homeless. This can’t happen today— Barry Melrose (@NHLBarryMelrose) August 23, 2018
This is heavy to watch and try to understand how the road led to this for Joe. The NHL, NHLPA and Alumni have to try to help, to enlist ex players that can connect to do the best they can to help him. Good on those involved https://t.co/7u8YVBBCrE— Ray Ferraro (@rayferrarotsn) August 23, 2018
There is no one reason for this tragedy but there are certain people who turned their backs on Joe Murphy when he reached out for help —> https://t.co/SZgeP9Yvhh— Allan Walsh (@walsha) August 23, 2018
Boom 💥 This 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻 @NHLBarryMelrose gets it. Sad that it has come to this. Sad that more players don’t speak out against the injustice they continue to & have received in the league of denial @NHL The @NHLPA needs to step up. Help the members who’ve paid their dues https://t.co/nS5NAdbDjx— Daniel Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) August 23, 2018
This is upsetting in so many ways. Hopefully these stories will keep bringing awareness in helping not only former NHL players who are dealing with drugs, alcohol and mental health issues but all who want and need help to get better. https://t.co/vZxrXE4bCy— Martin Biron (@martybiron43) August 23, 2018
This piece is worth the time and is incredibly sobering to watch. https://t.co/g0QE08j7Po— Aaron Ward (@NHL_AaronWard) August 23, 2018
Super tough to watch. I firmly believe Health Care for life will happen for players. That would give Joe the access to medical help. How many guys do we need to see either commit suicide or struggle with drugs, alcohol & depression? We’ve seen enough. https://t.co/LbooDlBDlG— Ben Clymer (@ben_clymer) August 23, 2018