Erwin “Murph” Chamberlain showed up at my door the other day.
No, not the real Murph Chamberlain, he’s been dead since 1986, but the Bee Hive, from those lovely 5×8 photos of years gone by, and one of the few I needed to complete a 70-odd set from the 1944-64 Group 2 series.
This was a guy, like Sprague Cleghorn a couple of decades before him, who would have straightened out the Sean Avery’s of the league in one or two quick and easy lessons.
Chamberlain was one of hockey’s larger-than-life characters – a tough as nails, hard-drinking, hard-partying, loud fellow who led teammates astray on a regular basis but was a leader in many ways, on and off the ice. We hear the stories, like the time a rookie at training camp was poised to make the club and shove a veteran aside until “Hardrock”, as they called Chamberlain, took the bull by the horns and beat the daylights out of the poor guy, thus ending the newcomer’s chances of taking one of Murph’s buddies’ jobs. Or in New York where Chuck Raynor once said with great fondness how Chamberlain babysat him in the big city.
He wasn’t a giant of a man at 5’11, 165lbs, but was as rugged as they came, much like Ted Lindsay was in Detroit and Chicago. But then again, 5’11 was quite a serious height in those days. Regardless, it’s common knowledge that this was one tough mother, or as I like to call him – “The Sprague Cleghorn of the 1940’s.”
Here’s some Murph Chamberlain stats: Murph stats. And I might need to remortgage my house for those last few Bee Hives I need.