New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, but he hopes to be ready for the team’s season opener Oct. 7 against the Colorado Avalanche. Team doctor Michael Farber said on a conference call the disease is largely treatable with medication.
Boyle signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract with the Devils this offseason. Bloodwork from the start of training camp showed irregularities from last season, alerting the medical staff.
Fortunately, the 32-year-old Boyle has remained optimistic about his condition as it relates to his life on and off the ice:
Boyle said on a conference call Tuesday that he feels as close to normal as possible, and Farber expects treatment to begin as soon as some further tests come back.
“We have a good plan of attack here, and I’m looking forward to getting on the ice and playing,” Boyle said. “When that happens I don’t know, but my mindset is Oct. 7.”
In 2007, NHL forward Jason Blake was also diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia. He continued playing for six more seasons before retiring in 2012. That’s one reason for Boyle to remain optimistic about his hockey career. He also watched his dad defeat a much more aggressive form of cancer years ago. He’s already received an outpouring of support from folks around the league.
Stay strong @BriBrows22 we are all in this with you , love you man
— Jonathan Drouin (@jodrouin27) September 19, 2017
— Ryan McDonagh (@RMcDonagh27) September 19, 2017
Wishing my friend and former teammate Brian Boyle speedy recovery from Myeloid Leukemia. We stand with you @BriBrows22
— Nikita Kucherov (@86Kucherov) September 19, 2017
We are all thinking of you and your family @BriBrows22. There is no doubt in my mind that you will beat this
— Steven Stamkos (@RealStamkos91) September 19, 2017
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 19, 2017
The entire #Bolts family is behind you, Boyler.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 19, 2017
@BriBrows22 with you buddy positive vibes with you and your family!
— jason demers (@jasondemers5) September 19, 2017
All my thoughts are with @BriBrows22 and his family. Amazing teammate and person who will get through this.
— Brett Connolly (@bconnolly8) September 19, 2017
While Boyle expects to return for the start of the season, the Devils did not give an official timetable for his return.