Brian Boyle Returns to Practice

Brian Boyle Fights Back

When Brian Boyle signed his new contract with the New Jersey Devils after being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs midway through last season by the Tampa Bay Lightning, he was looking for a fresh start in a new city with a young and exciting team. However, prior to the start of September training camp, Boyle was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a treatable form of blood and bone marrow cancer. This diagnosis frightened Boyle, along with his family, and he was forced to take a step back from hockey to focus on his family and his health.

Boyle knew that he would be back soon, but on Saturday, he was cleared to come back to practice. Boyle cited his need to get his medication under control, along with a treatment schedule, and finally to be cleared for contact by a physician. His first practice was an exciting one, as the Devils opened up that practice to season ticket holders to come and watch. As Brian Boyle stepped out onto the ice, he was greeted with cheers from loyal fans. When asked about the ovation he received, Boyle was humble and admitted, “That was different. There were moments where I was a little embarrassed. I heard the fans, and it was appreciated.”

Though Boyle has returned to practice, it may be a while until he returns to gameplay, due to the fact he was forced to miss training camp. However, he had been skating on his own prior to being cleared for official practice in order to stay in hockey shape. Now that he has returned to practice, the center man will continue to work hard in order to help his new team continue their strong start to the season. When asked about his teammates and their support throughout the entire process Monday, Boyle said, “The guys have been unbelievable. Players, coaches, Ray. Everyone’s been phenomenal. I’m very fortunate.”

Click here to follow Brian Boyle’s progress on the New Jersey Devils Twitter page.