Boyle Wanted To Be In Two Places At Once
Brian Boyle spent parts of three seasons as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last February he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs and this past summer he signed as a free agent with the New Jersey Devils.
After taking a team physical in September he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Luckily, he was able to overcome the disease through treatment and chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants weren’t required.
On November 1st, after missing the first 10 games of the season he returned to the ice. His play has been nothing short of outstanding notching 11 goals and 17 points in 38 games. His stellar play earned him a spot on the All-Star squad in place of injured teammate Taylor Hall.
“I’m very thankful to be here. This is such a tremendous honor.” Boyle said. “I don’t care how I got here.” He added that he’s received a lot of support from his family calling his wife a ‘rock star’ and the moment a ‘pinch me’ moment.
Getting The News:
When he got the call from the league he couldn’t believe it. There was an immediate range of emotions that went racing through his mind. He wanted to be in two places at the same time and had a tough decision to make. Unfortunately, his son was in a hospital in Boston.
Earlier in the year, his son Declan was diagnosed with a vein disorder called arteriovenous malformation or AVM (More on AVM here). On Wednesday night, Boyle and his wife Lauren noticed it was flaring up again. They took Declan to Boston Children’s Hospital where he was incubated for a day and a half. “He’s out now, he’s better.” Boyle said. “But it’s a scary situation seeing your kid unconscious and getting operated on. It’s happened four times this year.”
The plan was for Boyle to play the team’s final game on Thursday and return to Boston. At his wife’s urging, he elected to take part in this weekends All-Star game. “That’s why I say, I’m not playing if it’s not for my wife.” said a choked up Boyle. “She’s taken the brunt of this, she’s had so many sleepless nights in hospital beds with my son. He’s going to be fine, doctors have assured me everything’s fine, it’s just kind of scary.”
There is an old saying that God only gives you what he thinks you can handle. When asked why he thinks God has given him so much he laughed. He said his mother would tell him of a Mother Theresa’s quote: “I know God would never give me something I can’t handle, I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”
Returning To Tampa:
Boyle is elated to be returning to Tampa Bay for the game. “It’s crazy how it’s worked out. It’s something I’m going to try and absorb as much as I can. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, I’m trying to soak it all in.” Boyle said. “These fans were tremendous to me, they still are. They reach out whether it be social media or whatever it is. It’s been phenomenal to see. This is a place near and dear to my heart.”
He credited everyone he came into contact with in the Tampa Bay area from restaurants, players, teammates, PR Department, upper-management, and Jeff Vinik for making his time in Tampa so enjoyable.
Playing For Cooper:
“He’s awesome. I had so much fun playing here. Playing for him. I consider him a close friend.” Boyle said of playing for Jon Cooper. “It was just the time of my life when I was playing here. He’s a great man.”
“I watched what he did with some of the kids that were less fortunate. Who had some sicknesses. Tony Colton was a prime example and I became close with Tony Colton because of Coach Coop. He’s a great example.”