Boyle Adjusts To New Normal

Boyle Adjusts To New Life Among Stoppage

Apr 13, 2020

Over the past few weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has put everyone on different paths, some more hectic than others. For fourth-year goaltender Kevin Boyle, the transition has meant packing up his family’s belongings from Southern California and moving across the country to New Hampshire.

“We were waiting there in San Diego for a little bit, not really knowing what was going on,” recalled Boyle. “All of a sudden, things started ramping up and we found out we were allowed to go home and we should go home. It was interesting actually flying across the country and seeing there was no one on the flights. When I arrived back home, there wasn’t a soul in the airport. It put things into perspective and made it feel so real.”

With many players living seasonally in San Diego while the AHL season is in full swing, few live year-round in America’s Finest City. For the New Jersey native Boyle, who played collegiately in the New England area with UMass-Lowell and UMass-Amherst, he and his wife Kendall chose New Hampshire as a place to settle. 

“The hardest thing for me was packing up the whole house, packing up my car and getting that shipped out – doing all those little things,” added Boyle. “My wife had left already so it was just me at the house and I was left alone to do all that.”

The move back home for the Boyles came during an already eventful time as they prepare for the birth of their first child. In addition, the two bought a house in New Hampshire several months ago and are now turning it into their home. However, the extra work has helped keep the two busy as they get ready for the next big steps in their lives.

“It’s definitely crazy, but it’s a lot of fun,” said the soon-to-be father. “We just ordered some stuff for our extra room and we’re going to turn it into a nursery. I just built the crib and we built the chair – it’s coming along nice. (Kendall) is healthy, doing good and we’re excited.”

With the AHL season on hold, Boyle prefers to view the unique situation with a positive attitude, looking at the glass half full. We all miss sports, athletes most of all, but this unique period gives us a chance to bond with their families and loved ones.

“If we were back playing in San Diego, she would’ve been home and I would’ve been out there by myself,” explained Boyle. “So, on one hand, it stinks that the season is suspended and we’re not playing hockey right now. On the other hand, I get to spend some time with my wife and help her out with anything she needs because she would be doing this by herself.”

As well as connecting with family, Boyle has made sure to take this time to stay connected with his teammates, particularly Anthony Stolarz. Boyle shared the goalie crease in San Diego with fellow New Jersey native Stolarz this season and grew especially close with him throughout the year. The two utilize video games to stay connected, treating it as a simulated get together.

“We play video games together, whether it’s golf games, Call of Duty or anything like that, so I’ve been talking to him a lot every day,” said Boyle. “We play with some other guys too. It’s great that we have video games – it makes it that much easier to keep in touch with (teammates). We can kind of virtually hang out since we can’t actually hang out right now.”

“A few members of the coaching staff have gotten in touch with me,” said Boyle on how he’s stayed connected to the hockey side of things. “I’ve talked to (goaltending coach) J.F. Labbe and Dino (head coach Kevin Dineen) reached out to me. We’ve been keeping in touch and we’re hoping that we can get back and finish the season at some point.”

When the season was paused, the Gulls were riding a hot streak as everything with the team started to come together. Their goal is still to eventually head back to San Diego and finish the 2019-20 hockey season once it has been cleared as safe to do so. For now, staying healthy, connected and prepared is all the Gulls can do.

“When it first happened, it was a sore thing because we were trending in the right direction,” he added. “We were playing really good hockey. We had been for the past two to three months there. We felt like we really could’ve banded together and had a special run there. It’s tough, but there are some things that are just bigger than hockey and bigger than sports. Everyone has to stay healthy and as careful as possible right now.”

Boyle also wanted to give Gulls fans a message in hopes to share his view of the glass half full. 

“I hope all you guys are staying safe and healthy out there. I know it’s a crazy time right now, but we miss you guys, all of us, and we wish we could be playing out in front of you guys. Stay safe and healthy and we’ll all get through this together.”

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