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Former San Jose Sharks, and Babson Goalie, Jamie Murray, on Playing Juniors

Jamie Murray is one of the best players, if not the best, to come out of Babson College. He played in 22 games since his sophomore year, and each season had goals-against-averages between 1.50 and 1.68, and save percentages of .940 or better. This amazing hockey player had .940 save percentage ranks second in NCAA DIII history.

College: Babson College

Position: Goalie

Pump up song: Wake Me Up, Avicii: I lived, One Republic

Hometown: Scituate, MA

Favorite NHL team: Bruins growing up. Sharks now!

Favorite movie: Miracle /Remember the Titans/ Inside Man

Current Occupation: Member of the San Jose Sharks, NHL Team

Explain a little about your athletic background. How did you get started with hockey?

Ever since I could walk, my parents would take me skating. It was something that came pretty naturally, and I really enjoyed being out on the ice. My dad played when he was younger, so getting me to lace up the skates was a no-brainer. We used to rotate who played goalie, and I always got the most excited when it was my turn. I pushed my dad to let me play full time, but it wasn’t until I was 10, and he realized it wasn’t a phase, that he got me my first set of pads and let me pursue the position.

After high school, did you play juniors?

I didn’t have many junior hockey options coming out of high school, but there were a few teams that thought I had a lot of potential and wanted me to start at the Junior B level. I moved up to Junior A the next year after a pretty good season, but I was stuck in a pretty tough situation. After getting traded and still not getting many games, Coach Rice came and watched me in practice and asked me to commit after a win against my former team.

What do you think about the benefits of going to play juniors as a high school athlete? Downfall?

I think juniors can be great for some kids, but not the right choice for others. There is so much competition to play college hockey these days that kids start leaving high school early to play at a higher level. For those that are ready, it’s worth the investment. For a lot more, they’re not mature enough and are giving up a great experience in high school. I was small in high school, so sticking out my four years at Scituate was the best move for me.

How important were your overnight visits to your recruiting process?

I never did an overnight visit. By the end of my Junior A season, I didn’t have many options because of how little I was playing. And then, when Coach Rice asked me to commit, I knew it was the perfect mix of great hockey and great academics. I think it would have been fun, and for someone with a lot of options, it can be very beneficial, but it wasn’t part of my process.

How did you get noticed by college coaches? (showcases, club teams, tournaments, etc.)

I started to get noticed by some college coaches in my Junior B season playing in a lot of different showcases. There was interest, but I knew I would have to play Junior A actually to get recruited. The great thing about Junior A, especially in the top leagues and being on a top team, is that there are college and pro scouts at every game. I was lucky enough to be playing alongside some great players, especially Jimmy Vesey, who went on to win the Hobey Baker this past season, so he drew a lot of scouts to our games. I didn’t benefit much from that just because I wasn’t getting many games, but competing against kids like him in practice every day made me a much better goaltender.

What are some specific tournaments and showcases that could help hockey players get noticed?

There are plenty of local showcases, but the best way to get noticed is to play prep school or junior hockey. That’s where the coaches go to look and see how good you can be playing at a high level.

Looking back on your recruiting process, what would you change?

I think I handled everything pretty well. I reached out to a ton of coaches and made sure to follow up with everyone that responded. Making the initial contact can be crucial to getting your name out there, and doing it without being obnoxious is very important. For me, I sometimes wonder what my path would have been like if I had played for a team where I was the starter, but looking back on my four years at Babson, I wouldn’t change anything.

How did you decide on Babson?

I actually visited Babson during my senior year of high school and didn’t really like it. It was the smallest school I looked at, and I wanted something bigger. After a couple of years of junior hockey, Babson was one of my only options, and I knew how great of a fit it would actually be for me. I’m grateful that I got a chance to go there, and wouldn’t want it any other way.

What advice can you give to high school athletes looking to play hockey in college?

If you want to play hockey in college, you have to put in some extra time. Some kids get to college without playing an extra year, but for the rest, the road to college hockey goes through prep school or juniors. And there is nothing wrong with that. The two years I played junior hockey were a lot more than just getting better at goaltending. I grew a lot as a person, learned to be more responsible, and build a strong work ethic. I matured and followed a dream. Some people are afraid to stray from the standard path, but I think it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.

What do you think are the pros/cons of playing college hockey vs. juniors in terms of helping players sign a professional contract/get drafted?

There is a difference between the two, but I think everyone just needs to figure out what is best for them. Major juniors are more of a pro-style season. There are more games, and you get paid a little to play. Some incredible players out there, and especially for someone extremely talented at a young age, it can be the best preparation for the next level. College hockey is great because you get to further your education and play for a school. One of my favorite parts of college was building relationships with the other athletes and supporting them in their seasons, and I’m glad I was able to be apart of something bigger than just us.

Why do you think we are seeing an increase of college hockey players getting drafted and signing with NHL teams?

I think the level of play in college is as good as its ever been. Playing Division 3 and signing with an NHL team is not very common, but I think it speaks to the amount of talent at our level and shows that the recruitment process isn’t perfect. There are so many great hockey players out there, and college is such an appealing option. You get to experience the college life, which is some of the greatest years of your life while getting an education that you can use if hockey doesn’t work out. Especially for the big Division 1 programs, there is an amazing fan base. Young kids look up to those players, and playing in front of thousands of people from your school, alumni, and friends is something special.

What was it like playing in the ECHL, and how did the level of competition compare to what you faced while at Babson?

Playing for Allen in the ECHL was amazing. From the minute I got there, I was treated like a pro, and playing in front of so many loyal fans was special. In my first practice, I struggled with the shot speed and release time, but after making some minor adjustments, I was able to settle in and feel comfortable at the level. It is definitely a step up, but division 3 hockey is a lot better than most people realize, so it was a pretty reasonable transition.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a hockey player?

We made it to 4 league championship games in my four years at Babson, winning 2 of them. As a class, we are very proud of that accomplishment. On top of that, signing a professional contract was something I dreamed about as a kid, and I was overwhelmed to be able to get that opportunity. My first game for Allen, they announced that it was my first pro start while they had the spotlight on me, and I definitely had some goosebumps. I remember thinking to myself, “wow,” and just being immersed in that atmosphere was overwhelming and exciting.

How do you think LRT Sports can help future collegiate athletes?

I think LRT Sports provides an incredible opportunity for athletes to rate their coaches and provide necessary feedback, both for the coach and recruits. Going to a great school and playing for a great team is important, but if you are playing for a bad coach, the whole experience can be ruined. This will allow the best players to find the best coaches and create an even better product in collegiate sports.

If you were stranded in a locker room for three years, what two famous people (dead or alive) would you want to be stranded with and why?

I love Tom Brady and what he has done for the Patriots over the last 15 years or so. He is an incredible quarterback, but more importantly, an incredible leader and person. I know I could learn a ton from him, but I would hate to keep him locked up in a locker room for three years. We need him out on the field to chase that next Super Bowl Ring so I won’t be selfish with that one.

1) Steve Carell, but he would have to be in character as Michael Scott.

2) Kevin Hart would be a must. He seems like a down to earth guy and is my all-time favorite comedian.

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