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Rangers forward Brian Boyle’s outdoor-hockey memory is a classic

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NEW YORK — A lot of hockey players have stories about growing up on the ice outdoors — frozen ponds and tales of whimsy and wonder in the cold. Then there's New York Rangers forward Brian Boyle.

Boyle's story is a good one — and just a bit terrifying. When he was 4 or 5 years old, he, friends and relatives were on the pond behind his family's Hingham, Mass., house playing. Then, the unexpected happened.

"I remember seeing my dad fall into the pond," Boyle recalled. "He was going to get a puck out by some brush and some trees and stuff. The ice was kind of thin, and he fell in. I was so scared. I remember it now — I can picture it."

Boyle obviously won't have that to deal with Monday when he and teammates face the Philadelphia Flyers in the Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park. But the 27-year-old's most indelible outdoor-hockey memories are of his father, Artie, falling in — and what happened next.

"He just went into the house ... he changed all his gear, threw his goalie skates on and came back out and played," Boyle said. "My mother was horrified."

Perhaps like father, like son. Boyle said he was playing on another rink with buddies growing up and fell in halfway to his waist.

The center, who had never scored more than four goals before, broke out last season with 21 to carve out a regular spot with the Rangers. He has eight points this season.

Another time out with his father produced a story that's likewise funny in retrospect.

"One time, we were going out to check the ice and he's jumping on it and I'm with him and he's like, 'I think we're good,' so I did this big leap and smashed the ice. It cracked all the way down through the middle of the pond," Boyle said. "I looked up at him: 'We'll maybe give it a few more days.' Holy smokes."

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