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College Hockey:
BU, through and through: Coyle has deep roots with Terriers

Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda frequently said how he “bled Dodger blue.”

The same could be said of Boston University sophomore forward Charlie Coyle, who, for all intents and purposes, bleeds — and has bled — Terriers red and white.

For starters, one of his cousins, Tony Amonte (who enjoyed a long NHL career and is ranked 11th in points scored by American-born players), played for the Terriers. Among other things, Amonte was voted to the 1991 Frozen Four all-tournament team.

Coyle also grew up in Weymouth, Mass., which is a long slap shot (about 18 miles) from Agganis Arena, and he played for the Boston Junior Terriers.

“I always was more of a BU guy because Tony went there and I grew up right outside the city,” said Coyle. “I said to myself when I was getting close to going to college that I always wanted to go to BU. When it got to that time, BU was the first school that talked to me. I didn’t talk to any other school.”

Then there was the matter of the Beanpot tournament. Given the Terriers’ success (BU has won 29 tournament titles since the 1952-53 season), it had a major impression on a young Coyle.

“I went to a bunch of Beanpots when I was little because I wanted to come here and play,” he said. “There’s nothing like it with four local teams going after the Beanpot trophy.

“It motivated me to keep working hard so I could [play for BU]. By that, I mean I was motivated not only to play hockey but also to do well with my studies. I knew the whole school thing that comes with it.”

Coyle played so well last season that he was named both the Hockey East and New England rookie of the year as he posted seven goals and 26 points. Five times, he was named Hockey East’s top performer.

Amonte and another cousin, Bobby Sheehan (who played three seasons in the NHL), played a role in Coyle’s development.

“Tony used to help me when I played at Thayer Academy,” said Coyle, who was named the 2010 EJHL rookie of the year after finishing fifth in scoring with 21-42–63 totals in 42 games. “He would give me tips here and there … just little things in practice and throughout a game.

“Tony and Bobby always say enjoy where you are and keep working hard because you only get four years in college to show your stuff.”

Coyle certainly has “showed his stuff” with USA Hockey.

Besides playing in the 2008 USA Select Festival, he later played for the 2009 U.S. National Under-18 Team in the Four Nations Cup in Pori, Finland, scoring the winning goal in Team USA’s final contest against Switzerland.

He later played for the U.S. Under-18 Team that competed in the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia and during his freshman year at BU he starred for the bronze-medal winning U.S. Team at the World Junior Championship Tournament in Buffalo (Coyle was named Team USA’s top forward).

In 2010 he participated in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp and recorded three goals and three assists in seven games against teams from Finland, Sweden and the United States.

And earlier this year, he suited up for the U.S. National Junior Team, which earned the bronze medal at the World Junior Championship.

“I’ve been lucky to put on the USA jersey,” said Coyle. “I watched the World Junior tournament on TV when it won the gold medal two years ago. I thought it was unbelievable and it was some of the best hockey I’ve ever seen.

“Then, actually participating in it earlier this year … it’s hard to put into words what it was like. But that benefits you more because you’re participating in it yourself [as opposed to watching in front of a TV]. That’s the best way you learn … by going through it. Playing in those games and getting those experiences really benefitted me.”

Coyle eventually experienced being selected in the NHL Entry Draft.

San Jose picked him in the first round in 2010 and one year later traded his draft rights to the Minnesota Wild in a draft-day deal.

“Going into the [2010] draft it was rumored I would be a late first or early second-round pick,” said Coyle. “I ended up going late in the first round. It was exciting. [San Jose] saw I’m a big body [6-foot-3, 215 pounds] and I had a pretty good year in the EJHL.

“When Minnesota made the trade, they saw the same thing. San Jose had a choice to make and Minnesota really saw something they wanted in me and I’m going to Minnesota.”

Eventually.

Despite all the accolades Coyle has received and the subsequent hype, especially leading up to the 2010 draft, coach Jack Parker didn’t have Coyle’s head measured for a larger helmet.

“You’re always going to have that … people talking you up,” said Coyle. “You have to block it out. That’s what I’ve tried to do all my life and keep improving. I just try to stay focused, keep a clear head and keep working hard.”


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  • JJ

    Great to hear it and great article.  Coyle is clearly a force when he’s on.  Hopefully he and the entire team can “turn it on” and live up to their talent level and expectations.  As a ten year season ticket holder, I’ve been unimpressed with this year’s team so far.

    • Mr Hockey

      JJ,I hope he has a great season for other reasons. I live in Minnesota and I want him to be a big part of the Wild’s future. The Wild also have Jason Zuckers rights(Denver University). As far as the Terriers go well, I’m a Gophers fan connect the dots…lol 

    • Pgmac

      …and what about the other nine editions of the team?  Granted, the ’08-’09 team deserves credit for winning it all, but that was frankly thanks to the most monumental choke in the history of college hockey by Miami.  The fact is that, on the whole, the BU program has been mediocre for years now, having been far surpassed by its rival down the street.  Hell, with a few exceptions such as Mr. Coyle, BU doesn’t even draw much of the local talent any more; Jerry York has built a juggernaut at BC that more of the best local up and comers are attracted to, and this season is unfolding as no exception to the modern rule.    
       

      • Joe C

        The fact is that until BU built Agganis, it had a substantial recruiting disadvantage compared to BC and the Conte Forum. BU went from loads of Frozen Fours to showing recruits Walter Brown Arena.

        The other fact is that BC is, in fact, a very good program which has been the most successful in NCAA Hockey since their title in 2000 (or 2001, I keep blacking out whenever I think about the Eagles winning it all).

        Finally, BU made the greatest comeback I have ever seen in hockey. I was six rows from the glass, on the Miami goal line extended. The four plus minutes of empty net action, the two goals to tie it up were not fluky, nor did Miami choke. They kept fighting in the overtime. I have seen plenty of teams choke, including BU at the Worcester Centrum against Maine in the NCAA. BU was a team of destiny.

        And, as much as I hate to say it, BC has been the best team in hockey since 2000. Well done, Jerry York.

        • Pgmac

          Joe C, BC’s current run actually started in the ’97-’98 season, when it lost in the championship final to Michigan in OT at the Fleet (after hitting both a post and a cross bar, which isn’t to say that Michigan’s win wasn’t well deserved.)  Anyway, that was some years after Conte had already opened, so I have to respectfully disagree with your facilities argument.  The difference, hands down, is Jerry York over Jackie Parker; Jerry simply recruits better, and motivates better.
           
          It was in ’01 that they took their first modern championship, vs. N. Dakota in OT, after losing a two-goal lead late in regulation.  That was their fourth trip in a row to the Frozen Four, and their third to the finals over that same period; and that has been pretty much their pace through this day.

          • Joe C

            From the mid-80s to the mid-90s, BU was always a serious contender for the NCAA title, racking up a ton of Frozen Four appearances, with some of the most painful exits I had to watch. Then Maine, BC and UNH got a lot better, with BC getting four titles, Maine two, BU one (not counting 94-95) and UNH missing out.

            I loved watching games at Walter Brown, but truth be told, Agganis needed to happen and it ended a lull in BU’s Frozen Four appearances. BC remains the best team in Hockey East and full credit goes to Jerry York. But the rest of Hockey East is not that far behind. Just look around the NHL.

            Most of all, I look forward to Notre Dame coming to Hockey East and making the league that much better.

      • Anonymous

        No, it wasn’t. It was due to some of the best coaching and team play in the history of college sports. BC is not necessarily a juggernaut, either. BTW, BC blows. They shouldn’t even have a football team. 

        • Pgmac

          David, it’s spelled i-n-f-e-r-i-o-r-i-t-y c-o-m-p-l-e-x.

        • Joe C

          David

          As a die-hard BU alum and fan, I can tell you that right now, BC is the juggernaut, the team to beat and the gold standard in Hockey East. They have been since 2001, supplanting BU and Maine.

          Just because I do not cheer for BC does not mean I will not give them their due for a great run. I only hope that it has ended.

          Still, I prefer the greatest comeback in NCAA Tournament Hockey to a bunch of blowouts (like BU over Maine in 1995). The DVD is always great to watch.