When James Murphy, a Canadian Football League (CFL) Most Valuable Player and three-time Grey Cup Champion hung up his cleats in 1990 as a receiver for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and chose to settle down in Winnipeg, he became a great catch for the community and for Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC). That’s why in 2008, MCSC welcomed Murphy to a new team as a key player in introducing people to careers in construction, especially youth.
While officially an MVP with the CFL, unofficially, Murphy is an “MVP” with youth across Manitoba, serving as MCSC’s Community & Youth Liaison. Ever modest about his success on the field, Murphy accepts his celebrity status with grace as just one of the many “plays” in his “playbook” to get youth thinking about meaningful careers in construction.
“During my CFL career, I had to play fast and think faster on the field to make catches to help the team move the ball down the field,” recalls Murphy on how those skills transitioned into his work with MCSC, adding a lighthearted reflection. “And today, I’m still kept on my toes, fielding all kinds of interesting questions from youth wanting to know about working in the construction industry.”
Much like he was on the grid iron during his CFL days as he is in the classroom today, Murphy is equally adept at receiving opportunities to connect directly with youth, tackling myths and misconceptions about careers in construction. “I pride myself on always being open and honest with youth about working in construction. Today, more than ever, there are so many opportunities to succeed in the construction industry, but it requires a game plan that includes education, a career path, and dedication and hard work,” says Murphy.
When you are a CFL Grey Cup champion, an All Star, and an MVP, those messages receive an extra boost of credibility for the youth familiar with his success on the field, especially as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced Murphy as the team’s 2023 inductee to the Ring of Honour. According to a Winnipeg Blue Bombers media release, Murphy becomes the 15th member of the Ring of Honour and will be added at the annual Banjo Bowl against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday, September 9, 2023. Murphy is also a member of the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Off the field, Murphy’s humility, patience, and ability to connect genuinely with people makes him an MCSC all star team member according to Carol Paul, MCSC’s Executive Director. “James is an invaluable member of our MCSC team. Whether or not people may know him from his CFL career with the Blue Bombers, he has an innate ability to make everyone he meets feel comfortable, which is essential when working with kids and newcomers who want to learn more about construction but are sometimes a bit shy.”
Much like his CFL stats sheet, Murphy has racked up some impressive MCSC stats, averaging about 30 community events every year, speaking to approximately 3000 youth at schools and events across Manitoba.
In the meantime, congratulations from everyone at MCSC to James Murphy for being selected as a 2023 Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ inductee to the Ring of Honour.