Despite both of his parents working in education, Boyes used his smarts at put it towards hockey (Getty Images).
With his father working as an elementary school principal and his mother a substitute teacher, it’s a wonder Brad Boyes didn’t end up working in education.
“I always walked around with a (hockey) stick in my hand,” he said, recalling his days as a young boy growing up in Mississauga, Ontario. “From what I can remember, it was hockey 24/7 for me. (Working in education) was never my first option.”
And that’s a good thing for the Blues, and the National Hockey League for that matter, as both have watched a boy from a town just outside of Toronto grow up to entertain thousands with his sniper-like ability to fire pucks past goalies who are unable to react as quickly.
Maybe it’s skill, or maybe it’s just good genes. Whatever the source, Boyes has used his smarts to light lamps and trick goalies into sliding out of position.
“I’m not going to overpower anybody out there,” said the 6-foot, 195-pound forward, who doesn’t have enough size to bully his way to the net. For him, he has to think about the game and find open areas of the ice to score.
“He’s a goal scorer,” said Blues goaltender Chris Mason, who faced Boyes five times last season as a member of the Nashville Predators. In those five games, Boyes scored six times…seven if you want to include a shootout game-winner on Nov. 17, 2007. “If you give a guy like him any time or space in front of the net alone, more often than not, he’s going to bury it. He’s showing it this year, and obviously last year with 43 goals, he’s off to a great start this year.
“He’s just a guy who can put the puck in the net.”
Through the club’s first 34 games, Boyes leads the Blues in goals (16), assists (15) and points (31), and being a leader is something he can get used to.
“If we need a key goal, I concentrate on trying to do that and provide sparks when needed,” he said. “It’s just about stepping up and really trying to lead the team in that area.”
Perhaps most interesting is that Boyes has been a leader at every level. In four seasons of junior hockey with the Erie Otters, he scored 141 goals. In the AHL, he potted 94 goals and in the big leagues…well, that you already know.
What’s the secret?
“I don’t know. You just put the puck on the net, play with good players,” Boyes said. “I try to work hard, but the biggest thing for me is I just try to be consistent the whole time. I don’t want to change my game. You alter your game (for the NHL) but you don’t alter what you’re doing. That worked for me and I keep doing it. I just have to be consistent.”
If you ask Boyes about the obstacles he’s had to overcome, he won’t be able to give you any. Nobody told him he wasn’t good enough. His coaches never said he was out of shape, a flash in the pan…nothing. In all honesty, hockey has come easy for him, but that’s not something he takes for granted.
“He’s a great teammate. He works in hard in practice and he wants to win,” Mason said. “He’s a really good guy and I’m glad to be on his side.”