By: Dan Shulman
On Wednesday afternoon, Weymouth, Massachusetts native Charlie Coyle took the ice as he always does for practice.
Only this time, it was a little different.
Coyle and his Minnesota Wild teammates would be skating at Agganis Arena on the campus of Boston University.
Back in September of 2010, Coyle took a similar walk down the locker room hallway to the Agganis Ice as a freshman on the Boston University Terriers Men’s Ice Hockey Team.
“It was surreal, but it was cool though,” said Coyle as he exited the Agganis Arena’s opposing locker room. “I haven’t been here in a while so to be able to go back out there and see some of the coworkers and some familiar faces was pretty special. I haven’t seen those guys in years.”
Charlie Coyle’s road to Boston University was a dream for the young hockey player. Coyle played at Weymouth High School, leading the Wildcats to the Massachusetts Super 8 Finals where they fell to B.C. High, 6-1.
The forward played for the South Shore Kings, a local junior team, where he amassed 63 points (21G, 42A) in 42 games.
But when it came time to pick a college to play out, the highly touted prospect had a rather easy decision to make.
“I just always wanted to come play at BU,” said Coyle. “That was the best thing in my mind. Going into college, they were the first school to talk to me, and that was good enough for me. I didn’t talk to anyone else, I just jumped at it.
“Just to be [at BU] was a dream of mine and to be able to accomplish that was pretty cool. Just the whole experience [is what I enjoyed the most about BU].”
Coyle played one-and-a-half seasons at BU from 2010 to 2011, recording 40 career points in 53 games. However, in the middle of his sophomore year, Coyle was met with a major opportunity.
He was forced to choose between playing for Boston University, his dream school, or the illustrious Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, one of the world’s most premier teams at that level.
“It was the hardest decision of my life,” said Coyle. “It was not something I ever thought I’d do. Everyone has their own situation though, and that’s the one I chose. It was definitely hard to leave a place like [BU].”
The 2010 San Jose Sharks draft pick had just seen his professional rights traded from San Jose to Minnesota, and now Coyle was thrust into a totally different situation in Canada.
However, Coyle thrived with Saint John, registering 15 goals and 23 assists in 23 contests. In the playoffs, it was Coyle leading the way, with 34 points in 17 postseason appearances en route to capturing the first Memorial Cup in Saint John Sea Dog’s history.
Following his success across three leagues in two countries, the NHL beckoned. After half a season with the Houston Aeros in the AHL, Coyle was ready for the big time. Donning the number 63, Coyle made his NHL debut on February 4, 2013. 19 days later, he found the back of the net for the first time in his professional career.
“Every league helped me to get where I am,” said Coyle. “In my time at Boston University, I learned a lot.”
After going home tonight to see his family, Charlie Coyle and the rest of the Minnesota Wild take on the Boston Bruins on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. with some familiar faces in the crowd, as over fifty of Coyle’s friends and family members will be at the game.
Charlie Coyle’s full media remarks from Wednesday can be heard below