New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle has played in 704 games over 12 seasons for five teams. He’s scored 109 career goals but has never notched a hat trick — until Monday night in Pittsburgh. The best part? It was on the Penguins‘ Hockey Fights Cancer night.
Boyle, 34, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in September 2017 after a training camp physical. He played through the 2017-18 season while undergoing treatment. Two weeks ago, he found out that he was in remission.
Boyle scored a goal in the first period on Monday that gave the Devils a 2-1 lead over the Penguins. He then scored back-to-back power-play goals in the third to give his team a cushy 4-1 lead. All goals came against Pittsburgh starter Matt Murray. Boyle now has six goals on the season.
Boyle, who didn’t make his season debut until Nov. 1 of last season, was awarded the 2018 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for “perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” The award is voted on annually by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Hockey Fights Cancer is a joint initiative between the NHL and NHLPA. It is in its 20th season. Throughout the month, different teams host a Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness night, and Monday night was Pittrburgh’s turn with the Devils in town.
This week Boyle’s wife, Lauren, was named an official Hockey Fights Cancer ambassador. Last season’s ambassador was Nicholle Anderson, the wife of Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson. Anderson is also a cancer survivor.
Boyle got an update on his health status after meeting with his doctor two weeks ago.
“A test (BCR-ABL1) looks for the leukemia cells in your blood, and when I was first diagnosed, it was at 75 percent,” Boyle told NHL.com. “At the end of last season, it was at .08 percent, and in July I was .04 percent. The results showed all zeros on Monday. It’s full molecular remission, and I feel really good. It was kind of the way the progression was happening the last few tests. When I told my wife, she was excited and got emotional. The game plan has been working well, and now I’m just going to continue with it. It was good news, but it doesn’t change a whole lot for me and I’ll continue taking the medicine.”
The Hingham, Massachusetts, native said he will need to continue taking medication once a month and still will have regular checkups with doctors to monitor his health.