Aaron Murphy - file photo
As long as Aaron Murphy can remember he's wanted to work in sports.
"Probably started in junior high," the 37-year-old St. John's native said about his interest in all things to do with professional athletes and teams.
Murphy's parlayed that longing into a reporting/blogging job at ESPN America for close to six years.
ESPN America was formerly NASN (North American Sports Network) in Dublin, before ESPN bought the company and changed it's name. Murphy was transferred to London last January.
ESPN America focuses on North American professional and collegiate sports for audiences in Europe, as well as Asia and Africa.
"I wasn't great at math or science in school, but I was a decent athlete," said Murphy, who always felt he would have a career in sports "down the line."
Murphy played high school hockey and ran track at Holy Heart of Mary High School and during his one year at Memorial University. He later played hockey at Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto, where he earned a degree in radio and television in 1996.
He went on to captain the Dublin Rams of the Irish Ice Hockey League for three years (2007-09, playing) two Irish finals as well as tournaments in Edinburgh and Madrid.
Murphy's first job in sports was as an editorial assistant for a show called TSN Sunday hosted by John Wells.
"He used to call me Newf and Irish when I was in the TSN office," Murphy said of Wells. "He always made me laugh and feel welcome. He was great and I learned a lot about TV in that first job."
Murphy gets to travel quite a bit and, while he misses Dublin, London isn't anything to sneeze at.
"London is great," he said.
"Very busy and hectic for sure ... and big. I love the buzz in the city when there's a sporting event on. I'm really looking forward to the Olympics next summer. It will be unbelievable. I've worked an Olympics before - for CBC (1996 in Atlanta - so I know how unreal it will to be here in London in 2012."
Murphy, who is as much of a fan of the game as he is a professional, covered last year's NHL pre-season games in Europe and he'll do the same this October in Stockholm.
He was in Raleigh, N.C., for the NHL All-Star game in January and covered Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup final in Boston.
"I'm pretty lucky," he admits. "I'm around sports-minded people most days, and get to talk sports all day. I love the travel to special events and meet the people involved. I'll always remember the buzz in Boston after they tied the final at 2-2.
"Being around guys like Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, Roberto Luongo and the Sedins was something I won't soon forget."
He said Boston Bruins president Cam Neely "sticks out for sure," among NHL people he's met.
"I interviewed him in Prague at the start of the NHL season. He was so accommodating and genuine. I grew up admiring the guy and there I was, interviewing him outside the Bruins' locker room.
"All of the guys I've run into are great. NHL guys are just regular good, down-to-earth people. I was impressed with Eric Staal at the All-Star game as well."
The toughest part of his job, he says, is working around time-zone differences.
"In London. we're five hours ahead of Eastern Standard time, so my day can be half over by the time I get in touch with colleagues and contacts in Canada and the U.S. Also, watching games starting at midnight here (London) can be hard over a long period like the NHL playoffs."
Murphy says he gets home about every couple of years and had a "great family reunion" two years ago during his cousin's wedding.
He was hoping to get back to St. John's this week, but he's been assigned to cover Major League Baseball's All-Star game, being held this week in Phoenix, Ariz..
There's no way he'd pass that up.
It's the sort of thing he dreamed about a long, long time ago.