Sports Extra with Dave Ross: My Saturday: A UD football win and a 94-year-old hockey player

Sports Extra - With Dave Ross

I’d been looking forward to last Saturday and a visit to Welcome Stadium to see the Dayton Flyers play football on “senior day” against highly touted Davidson College from North Carolina. It’s been six years since I retired as public address announcer. I enjoyed my 10 seasons behind the mike, still cherish it, and stay in touch with the program.

The first order of business was to climb the substantial stadium steps to the press box. Though my ascent wasn’t in record time, I made it comfortably for another benchmark in my physical recovery from having very little mobility and energy just a few months ago.

My press box seat was next to UD beat writer Hal McCoy, best known as a baseball Hall of Famer for his half-century coverage of the Cincinnati Reds. We always have good dialogue in such a setting. Hal has concerns about the 2022 Reds. “They just got rid of the leader of the pitching staff (Wade Miley), and the leader of the team on the field (catcher Tucker Barnhart).”

Through the early afternoon I renewed many old acquaintances and also enjoyed engaging some of the Davidson folks. Dayton scored early, led throughout, and won a high scoring affair 38-29 to give the Flyers a winning season.

As the contest drew to a close I left the press box to sit closer to the field to fully experience the ending and celebration. Then I positioned myself outside the Dayton locker room to greet coach Rick Chamberlin who has become a treasured friend over the years. He was excited and so was I. Very special. Flyer pride!

Then I headed home but would first stop for pot roast in south Troy and watch the first half of Purdue-Ohio State. I knew the food would be great but I was also treated to an unexpected pleasure. Before my meal arrived, my detective skills kicked into gear. A nearby diner who also liked pot roast was well known to the gals on duty at Lincoln Square. They called him “Murph.”

When he posed a question he ended with “eh” which is popular with Canadians. Could this be Bill Murphy who played hockey for the Troy Bruins pro team back in the 1950’s? That’s exactly who it was. He looked and sounded great.

When Bill went to pay his bill, I stopped him to introduce myself. The Hamilton, Ontario native enjoyed being recognized and we enthusiastically chatted. He was an original member of the Bruins from 1950-53, concluding a year before I was born. The Bruins played through the spring of 1959. Bill Murphy proudly announced his age as 94. I told him I’m a big hockey fan and sports columnist with roots in Sidney.

I mentioned that I’d done extensive research on Sidney football and found lots of Troy Bruins articles and photos during that process in Sidney Daily News microfilm files. I pointed out that Monday Bruins coverage was always strong following a Sunday afternoon home game at the new Hobart Arena.

He laughed and said he did more for the Bruins than play right wing. “On Monday mornings I’d drive to many of the area newspapers to deliver Sunday game photos to promote the team. Sidney was one of my regular stops. I delivered the pictures you saw,” he recalled from about 70 years ago.

I informed him that SDN Sports Editor Zack Crusey took good care of the Troy Bruins. In fact, Zack personally covered some of those Sunday matinees. The team, especially Owner and General Manager Ken Wilson, made Zack feel welcome.

Murphy came to Troy in 1950 and never left, due at least in part to meeting the local woman who would become his wife of 65 years before her passing. A proud Canadian, he didn’t become an American citizen but now wishes he’d pursued dual citizenship. After hockey, Bill worked his way through the ranks at the Pontiac car dealership in Troy until he owned the business for about 20 years. “That’s where the Eagles Lodge is now located on the way to Piqua,” he offered.

“Murph” opened his wallet to reveal his photo in his Troy Bruins uniform along with one of his brother from the NHL. The late Ron Murphy played 18 seasons in hockey’s major league and won two Stanley Cups while scoring over 200 goals. I was already very familiar with Ron who played on some of the great Boston teams with the likes of Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito around 1970. “My brother’s name is on the Stanley Cup twice,” beamed the older brother.

Bill Murphy had a dinner date with him last Saturday. “I now live in some senior apartments in Tipp City where there are 90% percent women. It keeps me active,” he smiled. We exchanged thank yous and I then finished my pot roast. What a neat experience.

I had a nice Saturday, eh?

Sports Extra

With Dave Ross

Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross joined the local sports media in 1975, 16 years following the final game of the Troy Bruins.

Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross joined the local sports media in 1975, 16 years following the final game of the Troy Bruins.