Stephen Murray Steps Away After Eight Seasons with Haydenettes

Stephen Murray shares many fond memories from his eight seasons on the Haydenettes synchronized skating team.

Above: Photo credit Getty Images

By Marissa Pederson

For the past decade, Stephen Murray has been a staple of both the synchronized skating community and the Hayden organization.

Coming up from the Mini Mates all the way to the famed Haydenettes, the 26-year-old from Falmouth, Massachusetts, became the first male Haydenette in 2016–17, and continued with the team for eight consecutive seasons. He has served as a DREAM skater, Icemen ambassador and Athletes Advisory Committee representative during his competitive career, as well as a coach at The Skating Club of Boston.

The purple-clad Haydenettes, with arms extended, deliver a nearly flawless free skate.
The Haydenettes perform their “Who Wants to Live Forever” program flawlessly. Photo credit Getty Images

This year, Murray will step away from his competitive career and transition to his next skating chapter as a coach in the Boston area.

“Now that my time competing is done, my time to give back to the sport has just begun,” Murray said. “I am excited to continue coaching and being involved with Icemen. It will be fun to pass down my experiences and knowledge to the next generation. I love working with skaters that have the same drive and determination that I had, and I hope my experiences competing at a high level can help them.”

Before the titles and accolades, Murray was your average New England kindergartner, playing piano and soccer, and skating on the cranberry bogs in the winter. Those bog skating outings turned into public sessions, which by happenstance turned into synchronized skating practice.

“I started skating synchro in the 2007-08 season, which happened by accident,” Murray said. “My mom and I were looking for public skating sessions to go to and that day the session at the Bourne Skating Club worked better for us. It turns out the public session was canceled because of the synchro try-outs. I saw some of my friends from the Falmouth rink there and I just wanted to skate with them, so I ended up trying out and made the team.”

During his first season as an accidental synchro skater, he had the opportunity to see the Haydenettes perform an exhibition at a local competition. From that point on, he became a determined synchro skater with a big dream.

“The Haydenettes used to do the Hayden Synchro Summer Experience Camps, which is where I first got involved with the organization,” Murray said. “Every skater filled out a sheet with their name, their team, a fun fact and what they wanted to be when they grow up. When everyone else was writing down a lawyer or doctor or teacher, I always wrote that I wanted to be a Haydenette.”

From that point on, Murray made it his mission to become the best skater he could be in order to make the best team in the U.S. He officially joined the Hayden Recreation Center and commuted three hours round trip to each practice. Outside of practice, he continued to work on freestyle, pairs and ice dance to be as versatile as possible.

After one season on Team USA with the Lexettes, Murray finally felt ready to take the leap and go out for the Haydenettes, with only one open spot on the squad. Out of the 45 athletes at the tryout, four would be invited to spring training, and after three months of practices, one person would be invited to join the team.

“There was never a, ‘Congrats, you made it,’ moment, rather it was, ‘Welcome to the team, time to get to work,’” Murray said. “I think that experience really shaped the idea that the easiest day of being a Haydenette is your tryout day. It’s a constant tryout every day at practice to make sure you are stepping up for your team and continually improving yourself to be worthy of the Haydenettes’ legacy. There are so many people who want to be on this team, and when you step onto the ice, you are also representing all of the people who worked hard and didn’t make the team.”

As the only male on the Haydenettes at the time, Murray’s future on the team was not always a given. While synchronized skating was petitioning to join the Olympic Winter Games, there were discussions about banning men from synchronized skating in order to make it easier to get on the Olympic docket. Despite the uncertainty, Murray always had the support of his organization and especially from his coach, Saga Krantz.

Stephen Murray and his mother share a special moment at 2024 Worlds.
Stephen Murray savors the moment of winning the silver medal at Worlds with his mother. Photo credit Getty Images

“I do recognize the importance of visibility as one of the few men in synchronized skating,” Murray said. “I remember looking up to Lee Chandler growing up and that helped me feel like my goals were possible. Ultimately, it was really the support of the organizations around me that helped me get there. It was great to grow up with support from Saga. She was always supportive of my goals and helped me build and grow in the sport.”

Since that first official event in Boston in 2016, Murray has skated at seven U.S. Championships, five World Championships and countless international and domestic competitions. Year after year, the love of the sport and pursuit of excellence kept him coming back for more ice on the ice with his teammates.

“Sometimes the pressure of knowing that this is the last time, the last season, the last skate, can get to people,” Murray said. “From the beginning of the season, I chose to approach it a different way — ‘I get to do this one more time,’ instead of, ‘This is the last time.’ I think it made the season more fun and took the pressure away.”

When it was time for that final performance at the biggest competition, the Haydenettes delivered an incredible skate that Murray deems the best the team has ever skated. After eight years in the making, Murray capped his career with a World silver medal, skating to Queen’s “Who Wants to Live Forever.”

“It was such an honor to be a part of that moment,” he said. “When we won the World silver medal, it was representing the skaters on the ice, but also every single parent, coach, off-ice dance teacher, our school teachers that worked with our schedules. So many people helped us get there. I am eternally grateful for all of that support that allowed me to do what I love for so long.”

Murray will continue to coach in the Boston area while pursuing a master’s and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Specifically, he will be studying undersea acoustics and has even started some preliminary work on ice and ice acoustics.

“There has always been the skating half of me and the academic half of me,” Murray said. “I have had a lot of great mentors that have inspired me to study the ocean with engineering, just like my skating mentors have inspired me. I’m happy that I can pursue these two career tracks in tandem and we will see where they take me.”

Regardless of what comes next for Murray, his legacy has been cemented as a hardworking, humble teammate who embodies what it means to be a Haydenette.

“It’s been an absolute honor to work with Stephen, first as a young juvenile level skater all the way up to a world-medal athlete,” Krantz said. “The growth I’ve seen in him has been incredible both on and off the ice. He has a wonderful quality of always putting his coach and teammates first. It’s obvious how much he loves skating. I am sad to see him leave but know he will always stay involved in the sport.”