Sparwood’s own Daryl Boyle will be representing Germany as a starting defenseman in the 2018 Winter Games men’s ice hockey tournament held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“When I was announced on the team, I was pretty excited,” said the 30-year-old, one of seven EHC München players to be chosen. “I’m excited to get over there and experience the whole thing.”
Build-up to the Olympics has been intense. Team Germany coach Marco Johann Sturm expects everyone on his team to practice hard and efficiently, Boyle said. A one-time NHL all-star in 1999, Sturm has been immersed in world of professional hockey for over two decades.
“We’re all professionals, and we’re all coming from different clubs so we just have to work on the systems … and make sure we’re all on the same page and ready to go,” said Boyle.
Having trained with fellow hockey player Rob Klinkhammer in Lethbridge, Boyle looks forward to taking on Team Canada and playing against an old friend. Klinkhammer was born in Cranbrook, and moved to Lethbridge at a young age.
“We’re both tied to the Kootenay area,” said Boyle.
Boyle grew up playing minor hockey in Sparwood. His father saw that his sons’ skills deserved better training, so the entire family packed up and moved to Lethbridge when Boyle was 12 years old.
Despite moving with his sons away from Sparwood, Boyle’s father continued to work at Elkview Operations until his recent retirement.
“It was a sacrifice he made just so that me and my brother Derek could play a higher caliber of hockey,” said Boyle. “It definitely helped me get where I am now.”
Germany is far from home, but Boyle does his best to make his way back to the great white north once a year. Most time at home is spent camping with his family in Jaffray.
In 2003, he was signed to the Crowsnest Pass Timberwolves. He spent one season with them before moving up to the Western Hockey League with the Brandon Wheat Kings, where he spent four seasons (2004-08). In his final year, he served as captain.
From there, he went pro in the American Hockey League, signing with the Norfolk Admirals, followed by the Rockford IceHogs and the Peoria Rivermen before making the jump overseas to play in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL).
He played for the Augsburg Panthers for three years (2010-14), and then in March 2014, he agreed to terms with fellow DEL outfit EHC München (EHC Red Bull München) where he is currently in his fourth season.
“It’s definitely been an experience I’ll never forget,” said Boyle.
So far, the highlight of his international hockey career has been playing in the 2016 IHFF World Championships in Saint Petersburg, and more specifically competing against Team Canada.
Asked what his hopes are for the upcoming winter games, Boyle said, “I just want to go out there, experience the whole thing, take it all in. We just have to make sure we’re ready to go for that first game and anything can happen.”
Germany’s first men’s hockey Olympic game will be against Finland on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 8:10 a.m. MDT.