Brian Boyle hopes to play hockey again soon after being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the New Jersey Devils’ team doctor said can largely be treated with medication.
The 32-year-old forward was diagnosed with CML after bloodwork at the start of training camp showed irregularities from last season. Boyle said based on what team doctor Michael Farber and others have told him, he expects to live his life under normal conditions.
That includes getting on the ice with his new team after signing a $5.5 million, two-year contract in the offseason. Boyle said on a conference call Tuesday that he feels as close to normal as possible, and Farber expects treatment to begin as soon as some further tests come back.
“We have a good plan of attack here, and I’m looking forward to getting on the ice and playing,” Boyle said. “When that happens I don’t know, but my mindset is Oct. 7.”
The Devils open the regular season at home Oct. 7 against the Colorado Avalanche. That might be an aggressive target date, but Boyle said he expects only minor side effects even while he is being treated.
The Devils are optimistic Boyle will handle the medications well, no matter the course of action.
“He will be monitored very closely,” Farber said. “He came to us in great shape with relatively few symptoms, so I think he’ll respond quite well to therapy.”
CML is the same disease that former NHL forward Jason Blake played through after being diagnosed in 2007.
Boyle, who played last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs and whose wife, Lauren, had a baby girl in May, said he felt mostly fatigued but chalked it up to life events. Moving forward, he lamented his wife not letting him eat Skittles anymore but is glad that there shouldn’t be any short- or long-term problems.
“In a serious…