A former first overall pick in the National Hockey League Entry Draft is now homeless.
According to a report from TSN NHL insider Rick Westhead long time NHL veteran Joe Murphy is now living on the stress of Kenora, Ontario, Canada, his life seemingly having fallen apart completely. We do not have the full details of the story as of yet as there appears to be a plan on the part of TSN to release a full fledged documentary on the situation, the documentary is set to air this upcoming Wednesday.
The news comes as a gigantic shock to say the least as most of us fully expect that professional athletes who play in the NHL, especially first overall picks in the draft, have the kind of money at their disposal that will keep them set for life. Unfortunately this does not appear to have been the case for Murphy and either through unfortunate circumstances or poor decision making he now seems to have lost it all.
Murphy was selected 1st overall by the Detroit Red Wings organization in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft and became the first ever player from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to have earned the honor of going first overall in the process. After being picked by the Red Wings Murphy would bounce between both the National Hockey League where he played with the Detroit Red Wings and the American Hockey League where he played with Detroit's AHL affiliate team the Adirondack Red Wings.
In spite of his relative lack of success in Detroit Murphy would go on to excel during his career in the NHL after a blockbuster trade saw him moved to the Edmonton Oilers. As a member of the Oilers Murphy's numbers soared and his playing time increased as well and there were no more trips to the American Hockey League, finally it seemed as if Murphy had found his footing in the NHL. His increasingly strong performances however led to a contract dispute with the Oilers and Murphy would end up sitting out several months of action to eventually force a trade. That trade only come several months after he initially sat out however and in February of 19993 he was eventually traded to the Blackhawks organization.
Murphy had a strong 70 point season in his first year with Chicago but this also appears to be when things began to go downhill for him. Murphy would eventually be surpassed by younger and more promising talent on the Blackhawks roster and was allowed to walk away from the team after his contract expired, eventually joining the St. Louis Blues. Murphy however never returned to form and instead move from team to team on a series of contracts and tryout offers seemingly leaving burned bridges behind everywhere he went.
His career eventually ended unceremoniously after he refused to report to the AHL when demoted by the Washington Capitals following a bar fight in which Murphy allegedly tried to get a woman to join him in his limo. The woman allegedly refused his advances several times before her male companion had enough and cracked Murphy over the head with a bottle, he never played another game of professional hockey again following the incident.
Murphy was clearly a very troubled man even prior to the end of his NHL career but in spite of that it's sad to see how far he has fallen since leaving the league. Hopefully the documentary will help shed more light on his current situation and will result in some support for a man who is clearly lost at this stage of his life.