Brian Boyle, of the NHL New Jersey Devils, discovered in a team training camp blood test that he has a form of cancer called chronic myeloid leukemia. Once this was discovered he was taken to the hospital for further testing and possible treatment options. Boyle, as a brother, father and husband, knew the severity of his diagnosis.
While Boyle was undergoing therapy for his cancer, he was still trying to ice hockey at a professional level. Yes, you read that right, this man was playing professional hockey while battling a serious form of cancer. His coaches and teammates all knew how strong he was and the energy that he still brought to each and every skate, so they had no choice but to help him get through this tough time. Teammates mentioned the energy that he brought to every team gathering whether it was a skate or meeting regardless of the situation he was dealing with.
Hockey Fights Cancer is a huge organization that the National Hockey League donates to for a month of the season. All players wear a patch on their shoulder showing support for patients and cancer research in which money is donated to the foundation. But Boyle and his teammates really took this cause to a whole new level through his battle with this disease. Specifically, the Devils donated more money to cancer research than any other NHL organization. The owner spoke out and said, “ We just thought it was right for us to take major action in this time, for us as an organization and of course for Brian and his family throughout this tough time,” according to the Devils website.
After six months had passed, Boyle received the great news that he had beaten his form of cancer and was now cancer free. His immediate reaction was to burst into tears in front of his family. In his first game back cancer free Boyle had a goal and an assist and it was extremely emotional. Boyle made a statement to the press saying, “ Yes, hockey is a nasty game on the ice but off the ice it is one big family that helps one another.”
Boyle is currently healthy and playing a normal shift for the Devils, putting up impressive numbers after all that he has been through. An ending statement Boyle made regarding everything was “the one thing I learned about all this was you never know how strong you are, until strong is the only choice you have.”