Catching Up With: Kevin Boyle

Kevin Boyle Talks Time With Gulls, Life After Retirement

Sep 7, 2022

By Paige Burnell and Andy Zilch/

San Diego Gulls goaltending legend Kevin Boyle is the epitome of dark horse. Boyle, who still holds the Gulls all-time records for games played (117), wins (62), saves (3,228), minutes played (6,652), and shots faced (3,528) worked his way into the American Hockey League as an undrafted player out of UMass-Lowell in 2016. He grew an impressive career from a chance awarded to him by the Anaheim Ducks organization including five dream-fulfilling NHL games played with the Ducks, five years in the AHL between San Diego and the Grand Rapids Griffins and a year overseas playing for HC Bolzano in Italy.

Recently, the Gulls legend hung up his skates to make the most of another aspiration - being a dedicated husband and father. 

Gulls broadcaster Andy Zilch caught up with Boyle following his announcement of retirement to discuss his hockey career and what the future holds for the former netminder.

Kevin Boyle In-Story Photo - 9.7.22.jpg

On how life is treating him right now:
I’m living in New Hampshire. We bought a house up on the lake here so since I got home from playing overseas (with HC Bolzano), we’ve just been kind of hanging out, keeping busy with my wife. My daughter is turning two here in a couple weeks actually so she keeps us busy every day. Other than that, just been enjoying retirement a little bit and I haven’t played any hockey recently, but I just accepted a regular job so I’m excited to kind of get back into the real world and have kind of a slow, stable, boring lifestyle for once. 
On how it feels to be a dad and life with his daughter:
I mean it’s the best thing in the world. Everyone always tells you before they’re born - like it really is the greatest feeling and it truly is. She’s the light of my life; she’s a little terror sometimes, but she’s absolutely incredible and it’s so much fun watching her learn new things and grow up every day. 
On splitting time between the ECHL and the American Hockey League in his first professional season and trying to make an impact as an undrafted player:
I logged a lot of flight miles that first year going in between California and Utah (with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL), but it was fun. I look back on it and I think that was great for me to do, to learn a little bit more about being a professional. It’s definitely different doing that than how it was in college, but I think it was great for my development. Like I said, I kind of got my foot in the door and then once I got that first chance in San Diego, got a couple games under my belt, I really felt like I could make it there and like you said, I kind of just took it and ran with it. I got lucky - played a good amount of games that first year and then, really looking back on that, going into that second year I really thought that I could make a name for myself in the organization, which I ended up doing a little bit. 
On the biggest learning curve he experienced during his first year as he went from college to professional hockey:
I think the biggest thing is how much time you have away from the rink because when you’re in college, pretty much your whole day is enthralled with going to school, going to class and then coming home and maybe have some food or something like that and then you’re at the rink for hours. Whereas, you go to pro, you wake up and you go in and practice and then pretty much you’re done by noon, one o’clock. Then, you’re at home and pretty much have the whole rest of the day to do whatever you want. So, I really figured out how to manage my time well and maximize the time away from the rink to help out my hockey game.
On if his first start with the Ducks is one of his best hockey memories:Kevin Boyle In-Story Photo 2 - 9.7.22.jpg
Oh yeah, absolutely. That was definitely my best hockey memory and I have a little memorabilia from that night sitting there on the wall so it was quite a special night and its funny - it’s a story that probably not a lot of people know.

So, the day before we were at practice and I actually had to jet out of practice a little bit early because my wife texted me when was on the way to the hospital, pregnant at the time. We actually found out that day that she had a miscarriage. So, we went through all of that that day and I had left before anyone told me I was playing or anything like that. Marty (Wilford) was the assistant there at the time and he texted me and was like, ‘Hey, I know you had to leave, I hope everything is okay. If everything is okay, I just want to let you know you’re playing tomorrow, you’re starting tomorrow.’ So, I was dealing with all of that stuff at that time and going into it being like I’m starting my first NHL game.

It was kind of a crazy night; it was a crazy 24 hours. That’s why in the interview after the game I was like this was probably one of the hardest few days for me, my wife and my family and everything like that, but this ended up being such a great thing. It took all our minds off of the crappy thing that was happening in our lives and made it like the best thing. So, it was the best and the worst at the same time so there was a ton of emotions and I think, honestly, it helped me out for the game because it made me not think about it being my first start too much. My mind was so going everywhere at the time that I kind of just shut my mind off and just went and played. That’s why I had that reaction after the game because I kind of couldn’t believe it that so much has been going on and to have that happen, it really was the most special light of my life and my family’s life.  
On how hockey and the camaraderie between teammates allows players to take a break from the other aspects of their lives:
Absolutely, it’s 100% true. That’s one of the biggest things I’m going to miss is going in and hanging out with the guys every single day in the locker room. Since I’ve gotten done with my last season, I haven’t really wanted to out my pads on and actually play hockey, but I’ve always wanted to go in and hang out with the guys and like you said, it just gets your mind off of whatever is going on for those few hours.
On playing overseas for HC Bolzano: 
I’ve kind of been, since COVID happened, I’ve kind of been floating around the idea of kind of stopping. My dream my whole life was to play in the NHL and fortunately enough for me, I achieved that dream. The way hockey is going it’s getting younger and faster and everything like that. I kind of sat down with myself and was like, ‘You know what, I know I’m good enough to play, but I’m getting older and the game is getting younger so I’m trending in the wrong direction here.’ The opportunity came - we probably wanted to stay stateside more and we were floating around different offers and stuff before taking that, but the offer came to go overseas and the money was right. I looked at my wife and she was like, ‘This might be an opportunity we probably shouldn’t pass up,’ because we don’t know how much longer I’m going to be playing. It was a great experience; I think it ended up being the nail on the head for me being like, you know I think it’s time to move on with my life from it hockey-wise.

We had an awesome time; I think it’s definitely an experience almost everybody should try and have because living overseas is just a completely different lifestyle from here. It was a lot of fun.
On HC Bolzano:
They’re in Italy, they’re in Northern Italy pretty much right on the border of Austria. It was cool. I mean the lifestyle is very different from here. They go on breaks in the middle of the day from noon to three o’clock where literally everything is shut down and you’re like, ‘I need to go grocery shopping,’ or something like that and you can’t because everything is closed. It was a very different way of life and I’ve always been kind of a homebody, so it was tough to get used to, but it was a really, really cool experience and we were lucky some of our closest friends that we’ve made in hockey we played with last year. The guys - they’re all kind of in the same situation - it’s a little bit older over there. Everyone is kind of getting toward the end of their career and everything like that and kind of just taking on a new challenge and new experience. We had a great time over there, but hockey-wise it’s interesting. The way they go about things there hockey-wise and the way they run organizations and stuff like that, but that’s a conversation I can’t really get into. 
On what his new job is going to be:
I took the job - It’s for the company here in New Hampshire and I’m going to be the title is a “Healthcare Recruiter”. I’m going to be working with radiologists and helping staff, different healthcare providers into contracts in hospitals and clinics and stuff like that. I got it just because I’ve been looking at stuff and I thought about doing sales because I think it fit my personality. Athletes always tend to do pretty well in sales because it’s kind of just the same mentality that you have in athletics. This was more, I’m selling more like people and personalities and stuff like that and so I have to build more relationships with people, which is something I’ve just always been really good at. Building relationships and talking with people - I feel like I’m very down-to-Earth and very easygoing and very easy to get along with so I felt like it was kind of just the right fit for me.

Eventually, what I want to do is get to sports psychology and work with the mental side of sports, especially hockey. Especially goalies as well just because I’ve seen how it can affect different people, especially myself. I went through it so if I could help out someone going through something to help out their hockey game or their sports game, I think that would be probably the end-all be-all, but I need to go back to school for that so that’s another things that’s on the agenda, but I think that’s a few years away. I’m just going to kind of sink my teeth into this one and have fun with it and work hard like I said, I juts want a little more stability for my family at the moment and I think this provides that. I’m excited - nervous, but excited. It’s an exciting time. 
Andy then gave Kevin the opportunity to give a message to all his fans in San Diego:
I would just like to say thank you, first of all, for kind of how they brought me in. Like you said, that was the biggest part of my professional hockey career was playing in that (Anaheim Ducks) organization and living in Southern California. It’s something that I will look back on for the rest of my life and absolutely cherish. We had some of the best moments ever, we became really close with the fans throughout those four years and still talk to them whether it’s over social media or anything like that nowadays. We’re really just looking forward to kind of getting back there and going on a trip there and hopefully coming to a Gulls game as regular fans and kind of seeing everybody again. Really, I just would just want to say thank you to everybody out there for kind of bringing me in and like I said on my post, helping a young kid who never expected to achieve that dream, end up achieving it. It really just means the world to me and my time there- I’m sure my wife can say it was well- was amazing and we really just can’t thank everyone there enough. Really.

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