Flood of emotions

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

Andy Murray has his own team to worry about, a St. Louis Blues squad that has its share of challenges, but he couldn't help but sneak a peak.

And what he saw opened a faucet behind his eyes.

There on the television screen over the weekend, suiting up for his first NHL game in London, of all places, was his 23-year-old son, Brady, a full-fledged member of his old team, the Los Angeles Kings.

"It was one of the most emotional things when I saw him take his first shift," Murray was saying from St. Louis yesterday. "I thought of my dad, who's no longer with us but was such a passionate hockey guy. It probably choked me up as much as anything in the last few years. Whether he plays another shift or not, he's played in the NHL. Not many guys can say they played their first NHL game in London."

It's been a long and winding road for the Brandon-born Brady Murray, drafted by the Kings four years ago when his dad, who's from Souris, was still the head coach. A road that took him through an injury-plagued career at the University of North Dakota, then two years playing professionally in Switzerland.

But the 5-foot-10, 190-pound centre has been the surprise of Kings training camp, and appears to have locked up a spot, at least for now.

His is one of several Manitoba stories worth watching as the 2007 season faces off tonight.

From the Windy City, where Winnipegger Jonathan Toews is expected to get hockey fans in Chicago excited again, to Music City, where Dauphin product and head coach Barry Trotz will try to hold together a team decimated by defections.

"People know we have a lot of potential," Toews said from Chicago. "It's exciting for everybody. It's a special city. It's going to be fun to play here."

It always seems new and exciting at this time of year.

But nobody will be going through the same emotions as the Murrays. Dad, starting his first full season with the rebuilding Blues, has finally shaken L.A. from his past, while his son tries to keep the Murray name alive there.

And get this: after opening the season overseas, the Kings' next game, their home opener, is this Saturday against none other than St. Louis.

You think that might get some media attention this weekend?

"With me going back, and that being their home opener, he's going to be swamped," Murray said. "It'll be pretty neat, no question. But I'll be so busy and so focused on my team. It'll probably hit you afterwards."

What's hitting him now is like a flashback of Brady growing up in Manitoba.

"I remember watching him on the outdoor rink in Tuxedo, and hauling him around," Murray said. "I remember him playing in the youth programs in Winnipeg."

That led to a year at Shattuck-St. Mary's high school in Minnesota, followed by a year in the B.C. Junior League and two at UND. Along the way, Brady made the controversial decision to play for the U.S. in the World Junior Championship, an eyebrow raiser to be sure, considering his dad's long-standing ties with Team Canada.

This weekend, father and son will be on opposite teams, again. Both with fresh starts in new cities, with no baggage -- just a freshly flooded sheet of ice and a new season before them.

Baseball purists may laud the coming of spring, the crack of the bat and the smell of fresh-cut grass.

But we'll take the briskness of autumn, the pop of slap shots and the smell of drying hockey equipment, any day.


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