Brian Boyle has been through hell and back over the past year, and that’s what made Tuesday night in Pittsburgh that much more special for the New Jersey Devils forward.
Boyle had never scored a hat trick in his 12-year NHL career, but that was about to change on a fitting night in Pittsburgh.
The Devils were in town to face the Penguins, who were hosting Hockey Fights Cancer Night. Fighting cancer is something Boyle knows all too well.
The 33-year-old was diagnosed with Chronic myeloid leukemia last September and missed the opening of the 2017-18 season. Boyle would return, helping lead the Devils to the playoffs, making a pit stop at the NHL All-Star game and becoming an inspiration to anyone entrenched in a battle of their own.
Just over a week ago, Boyle announced his cancer had gone into remission and on Tuesday night Boyle, now a cancer survivor, stuck it to the disease one more time as he scored his first career hat trick — a natural hatty for good measure.
Some stories just write themselves.
The NHL began its 20th annual Hockey Fights Cancer initiative on Nov. 1. Each team across the NHL hosts one home game dedicated to the cause.
This year, Boyle’s wife Lauren was named the official Hockey Fights Cancer ambassador.
NHL.com is publishing several stories from Lauren, who will detail her personal experience as the couple battled the disease.