Johnny Boychuk was drafted by Colorado, but traded to Boston for Matt Hendricks in 2008. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
With Kevin Kennedy
My first hockey memory was playing at the community rink in Edmonton where I played almost all my hockey as a kid. I played for a bunch of different teams back then and I remember playing for the North Stars, the Eagles, the Braves, Maple Leafs and finally the Flames. I actually just ran into a teammate from back in those days when I was playing in Austria during the lockout. It was my second or third game there and he was playing on the other team. It was pretty wild.
Getting in to hockey was never really a choice for me; it was kind of something I had to do. My whole family was in to it. It was just what we did. I also played a lot of baseball when I was a kid. I pretty much played every position other than pitcher. I still follow baseball and I’ve been a Red Sox fan for as long as I can remember. Long before I became a Bruin.
Besides hockey, the only other job I had was as a grunt on construction sites. I’d clean up scraps and push a wheel barrel. That kind of stuff. I tried to get other jobs many times, but I’d never get a call back. I applied to be a busboy one time, but I guess I wasn’t qualified.
A big minor hockey moment for me was when I was in peewee and we won the city championship. It was great, especially because we lost the city championship in novice and to this day, I’m still a little bitter about that. Winning the Stanley Cup helped a bit, but the fact I still remember the loss must mean something.
I played in the WHL for five years and spent time with both the Calgary Hitmen and the Moose Jaw Warriors. My first professional game was with the Hersey Bears in 2004 and it wasn’t until the 2007-2008 season that I got into my first NHL game.
I remember I found out I had been called up when I was in Cleveland for a game. The coach called me into his office and at that time I was playing forward, I don’t know why. But they told me Ryan Smyth got hurt and I’d been called up. They didn’t know if I’d be in the next game or just be an extra, but just getting called up was pretty exciting. I played against the Islanders in my first game and I was on a line with Kyle Comiskey and Cody McLeod. I’ll never forget that game.