Charlie Coyle didn’t think he was fast enough to compete on the national level, but he has handled the speed of the game and the pace of his life with stunning ease.
Charlie Coyle #3
In a six-month span, he graduated high school, earned a spot on Team USA’s entry at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship and became a regular forward at Boston University.
“He doesn’t get too excited, he gets that from my wife [Theresa],” said his father Chuck Coyle. “He doesn’t get too high, and he doesn’t get too low. It doesn’t rock him.”
Things have been happening fast for the East Weymouth, Mass., native ever since he left Thayer Academy to finish high school at home, all the while playing for the South Shore Kings of the Eastern Junior Hockey League.
“It was a pretty long season, every day was the same thing,” said Coyle, who turned 19 last month. “Get up at 6, go to school for six hours, jump in my car and hustle over to the rink in Foxboro, practice, then lift [weights].”
If not with the Kings, he’d work out with players from the local high school team.
“Some days there were only about three or four of us,” Coyle said. “I’d get home at 8 or 8:30, try to do some school work, and do it all over again. But it was fun. I enjoyed it.”
That attitude is a big reason BU head coach Jack Parker welcomed him into the program at age 18.
“We weren’t sure what year we were going to take him, but he played so well it was obvious,” Parker said.
“He’s a kind of a throwback to an older generation. He’s not one of those clinic kids who skates fast and shoots fast, but when you put him in a game it’s not so much.
“Charlie’s just the opposite. Put a puck up for grabs and [his attitude is] ‘someone’s going to win this puck and it’s going to be me.’ When you add up his tools he’s a good player, then you factor in his competitiveness.”
Coyle’s ability to improvise, protect the puck and make plays out of contact situations has drawn comparisons to legendary power forwards like Cam Neely.
The first EJHL player ever to be selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft (San Jose 28th overall in 2010), Coyle comes from a hockey-rich family. Chuck played Junior hockey and coached his son, and former NHLers Tony Amonte and Bobby Sheehan are Chuck’s cousins.
Coyle’s 2 goal, 4 assist effort in six World Junior Championships games matched Chris Kreider and Kyle Palmieri for the Team USA scoring lead, and WJC coaches selected Coyle as the Americans’ top forward in the tournament.
“Going into that camp for the World Juniors, I really didn’t expect that much,” Coyle said. “I didn’t expect to score or anything, I thought I’d just to be a third or fourth-line guy.”
When everything changed, Chuck called it a dream come true because he knew it was Charlie’s dream.
“He used to say to me, ‘Dad, what have I gotta do?’ [I said] ‘Go shoot a hundred pucks.’ Next thing I know, he’s shooting 200,” said the elder Coyle, who credits former
Boston College star Scott Harlow, his Junior coach, and Kings weight trainer Brian McDonough.
The year in Juniors prepared the Coyles for Parker’s sales pitch.
“He says, ‘You know why you came here, right?’” recalled Chuck. “I thought he was going to say, ‘Because I’ve been around 38 years.’ But he said, ‘because we’ve got [fitness guru] Mike Boyle, he’ll get you ready.’ Wow.”
At 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds, Coyle continues to grow on the scales as well as in life and in hockey. Through 33 college games, his 23-point totals tied him for third in the Terriers scoring race.
“He’s not projecting where he’s going to be two or three years from now,” Parker said.
“You have to get him out of the weight room, you have to get him off the ice. That’s the difference between good players and great players. The great ones try to make themselves better. Charlie’s trying to make himself better.”
hometown: Fayetteville, N.C.
A passion for hockey has carried Robert Pelley through good times and bad. It’s what allows him to overcome obstacles most people couldn’t.
The 17-year-old was diagnosed in 2009 with an aggressive germ cell tumor that engulfed his left lung. Despite chemotherapy, the tumor remained and led to the removal of his lung in December of the same year.
While most cancer patients have difficulty moving on back to the normal life they had once lived, Pelley persevered.
“Competitive sports are my true passion,” said Pelley, who was back on the ice with full contact for the Jr. Fayetteville FireAntz just months after having his lung removed. “I have played hockey my whole life, I couldn’t give that up. I had already missed a full season and I couldn’t imagine missing another one.”
And while his shift time has lessened, he is back to doing what he loves the most.
“It makes me realize that anyone can do anything as long as it is something that they really want and something they believe they can do,” Pelley said. “Here I am with one lung and still playing hockey.”