BOSTON – For Weymouth native Charlie Coyle, this entire Winter Classic experience with the Boston Bruins has been a long time coming.
Coyle missed playing at Notre Dame for the Black and Gold back at the 2019 Winter Classic when he was traded from the Minnesota Wild to Boston just six weeks after the iconic outdoor game was played, and he was just a young fan in the Green Monster seats back in 2010 when the Bruins and Flyers tangled at a frigid, memorable outdoor game at Fenway Park.
“Why didn’t they trade for me one month earlier?” said a smiling Coyle, of missing the game against the Blackhawks at Notre Dame before playing outdoors at Lake Tahoe with the Black and Gold a couple of years ago. “I was so bummed, but [now] I’ve been in two outdoor games since so not that bad, right?”
Back on New Year’s Day 2010, Coyle was a 17-year-old kid playing for the South Shore Kings with fellow Bruins forward Chris Wagner while bound for Boston University the following season, and he had a perfect view from the Monster seats of Patrice Bergeron feeding it to Marco Sturm for the overtime game-winner down at his end of the ice.
“I was in the Monster. I snuck up…don’t tell anybody,” said Coyle, with a smile after he and his friends had moved up to the Green Monster to get a better view of the ice during the first outdoor hockey game at Fenway. “I just bought cheap seats with a couple of buddies and their dad, and we snuck up there and I got to see Bergie pass it to Sturm for the OT winner right there!
“It was so cool. Obviously [the park was] packed out, freezing and it was the whole winter experience. And the Bruins winning in dramatic fashion so obviously everybody was all hyped up. It’s something you’ll always remember and someday you hoped to be out there and play one of your own. My buddy that was there [with me] is going to be here and my family, so it’s going to be something we’ll always remember. I’m very fortunate to be in that situation and play on a team that’s able to do them. It’s also a big game, so you want to make sure you take it all in and then when it comes time [to play], you focus in [on the Penguins].”
He hadn’t even been drafted in the first round by the San Jose Sharks at that point (that would come a few months later), so he didn’t really allow himself to think that at 30 years old he’d come full circle preparing to play an outdoor game at Fenway Park.
Coyle missed out any chances to play at Fenway Park while he was at Boston University and never had any kind of high school games there either, so he’s going to be realizing all kinds of childhood dreams on Monday afternoon.
Coyle said he’d never even been on the Fenway field before prior to practicing at the outdoor rink on Lansdowne on Sunday afternoon, so the entire experience is like a dream for a Massachusetts kid that grew up loving sports.
“I’m excited to get out there. I don’t think I’ve even stepped out on the field,” said Coyle. “This wouldn’t have even crossed my mind as a kid. You think about playing hockey and having fun as a kid, and playing for as long as you can. Hopefully you play in the NHL and play for a Stanley Cup and win a Stanley Cup. So you’re really focused on that.
“When I was a kid, you really didn’t even know that [playing an NHL game at a baseball field] was even a possible thing to do. So to be out there going to Red Sox games, concerts and everything else and now to see it as a hockey rink and be able to play on it? It’s pretty special and we’re pumped up. It’s going to be fun.”
Certainly Coyle is making sure it’s going to be fun for the fans as well as he did while signing autographs at the Winter Classic Plaza over the weekend.
— Abbey Niezgoda NBC10 Boston (@AbbeyNBCBoston) December 30, 2022
The good news for Coyle is that he’s on pace for 21 goals and 43 points this season while playing consistent, strong two-way hockey as the third line center on the Boston Bruins, and he’s the kind of player that often steps up in the big moments. So perhaps this time it will be Weymouth’s own Charlie Coyle that Boston Bruins fans will be all hyped about after it’s over at Fenway Park.