Former Tampa Bay Lightning Player Diagnosed With Leukemia
September 28, 2017
On Sept. 12, 2017, former Lightning hockey player Brian Boyle was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia. This form of cancer starts in the blood vessels located in bone marrow. Due to an abnormal gene in the DNA structure, blood vessels change from regular cells to the chronic myeloid leukemia cells. This causes the cancer in the bone marrow to grow rapidly and divide, quickly spreading to other parts of the body. Chronic myeloid leukemia is often described as rare but extremely treatable, and luckily this is the case for Boyle.
Boyle joined the Tampa Bay Lightning on July 1, 2014 after five seasons with the New York Rangers. He switched his jersey number from 22 to the infamous number 11. Boyle always wanted to play with the number 11 in honor of his friend that had passed away the previous summer, and the Lightning gave him the opportunity to do so. Boyle became a fan favorite of the Lightning and was known for quickly coming to the aid of the other players when a fight was about to break out.
Feraby Hoffman (’18) says, “The Lightning player never started the fight, he only jumped in after the other team did something bad to us. It was never us going after them.”
Boyle’s position was a centerman, which means that his primary position was to play in the middle of the ice. Centerman have more flexibility in what sections they can cover and often are expected to cover more ice than any other player.
Though Boyle was traded on Feb. 27, 2017 to the Toronto Maple Leafs, he has still received an endless amount of support from his former Tampa Bay Lightning teammates.
Wishing my friend and former teammate Brian Boyle speedy recovery from Myeloid Leukemia. We stand with you @BriBrows22
— Nikita Kucherov (@86Kucherov) September 19, 2017
The entire #Bolts family is behind you, Boyler.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 19, 2017
Boyle has stated that he plans on playing this season while also receiving treatment for the leukemia.
In an interview with SBNation, Boyle said, “I don’t like missing games. It’s just a thing you have to deal with, and that’s for us to deal with.”