Thanks to three RCMP officers, a group of young people in Newfoundland and Labrador are able to enjoy playing hockey this year.
Sgt. Danny Murrin, Cpl. Ash Coles and Cpl. Matthew Jack are three of the volunteer coaches for the western zone’s AA teams for 11-year-olds and 12-year-olds.
“There are four teams in the league, and three of the four head coaches are RCMP officers. It’s something all three of us really care about,” says Murrin. “I grew up playing hockey in small-town Newfoundland. It was one of the only outdoor physical activities around then. As an adult, I’ve played in every community I’ve policed in, and after I became a father I began coaching. I’m really enjoying that.”
His 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter both play defense, the same position he played.
“We just started working to put together the AA league in 2020, and if the three RCMP officers hadn’t come forth to coach, we probably wouldn’t have gone ahead with it,” says Morgan Anderson, western area director for Hockey Newfoundland. “There was a lot of relief when they stepped up to the plate.”
There are about 50 players in the league, which is based out of Rocky Harbour. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, they’re currently only able to play against other teams in the western region.
“The coaches put the teams together to make them even, and they did a good job because we’ve had close games and haven’t had to do any trades to keep them even,” says Anderson. “The coaches are committed. A lot of people don’t realize how much time it takes to be a coach. It’s not just a couple of hours. They have practices and deal with parents, too.”
Although he always enjoyed playing hockey, Murrin never planned to be a professional athlete. From the time he was a child, he knew he wanted to be a police officer — even though he had no family connections with policing.
“I never considered anything other than law enforcement,” he says. “It’s been the right decision. There’s something different every day and I enjoy the variety and meeting a lot of people. Every day truly is different.”
After working for a short period in another area of law enforcement, Murrin trained to become an RCMP officer. He graduated in 2002 and then spent four years in Prince Edward Island, with the West Prince Detachment, before returning to Newfoundland and Labrador. After working in Port Saunders and Rocky Harbour he moved on to Corner Brook, where he is currently NCO with the major crimes unit west.
“I really enjoyed front line detachment work, but after a few years I decided on this and I really like it too,” he says. “You travel a lot with major investigations, which is interesting. You discover things you didn’t even realize were in your own backyard.”
Although his work could take him anywhere, Murrin says his desire is to remain in Newfoundland.
“It’s a great province and the people are so friendly. Western P.E.I. took me in as their own and I enjoyed being there, but this is home for me.”
He says that, no matter what role he’s been in, breaking tragic news to families has always been the most difficult part of his job.
“Being able to see so many things is an overall highlight of my career,” he says. “If I had never joined the RCMP, I would never have experienced many of the things I have. I don’t think any other career would have been as enjoyable.”
To learn more about the National Police Federation, visit npf-fpn.com.