Dan Boyle spent 17 grueling seasons as an NHL defenseman, and after his retirement following the 2015-16 season, a career in hockey coaching or management might have been a logical next step.
But instead, the 41-year-old has taken an alternate path. Having missed spending time with his wife, Amber, and two daughters during so many hockey seasons, Boyle said he enjoys being a stay-at-home father in Los Gatos, California, outside San Jose, and is building a home in the area.
He said he relishes taking Eastin, 8, and Wesley, 6, to school and recently returned to Miami University in Ohio for the first time in 19 years for a college reunion.
"I absolutely love being a dad," Boyle said, "So, that's what I love to do every day."
Indeed, it's a departure from the way Boyle spent up to nine months a year from 1998 to 2016. He had 605 points (163 goals, 442 assists) in 1,093 NHL games with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, San Jose Sharks and New York Rangers.
Video: DET@NYR: Boyle lights the lamp on two-on-one rush
He ranks second on the all-time scoring list for defensemen with Tampa Bay (253 points, behind Victor Hedman) and with San Jose (269 points, behind Brent Burns), and won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004.
He said he can see himself working in hockey again, but not before catching up on quality time with his family.
"I love the game too much, but I think I got burnt out mentally at the end there," Boyle said. "I think it was important for me to stay away. I didn't really do too much with the game this year, I didn't really watch a lot of it. But I think I love the game so eventually, I'll come around again, but it's still too early and fresh right now.
"I think if I had the choice between being a [general manager] or a coach, I think I would rather be a GM. There's a part of me that wants to kind of assemble a team and see it through that way vs. from behind the bench."
Boyle takes great pride in having had a long NHL career, after going undrafted out of college and signing as a free agent with the Panthers on March 30, 1998.
"I think a lot of people know my story," he said. "I was overlooked and I was told from a very early age, and even to 18 or 20 years old that I wasn't going to make it ... Everything after my first NHL game was pretty much a bonus, so I'm obviously proud and humble. My confidence was shaken at times, but at the end of the day, I've always believed in myself.
"Eventually if you're good enough, the right person will back you and will find room for you. It's up to the player to make it count because the first-round player will probably get three or four chances, and the undrafted player will probably only get one."
There were many memorable NHL moments for Boyle, but perhaps the most meaningful came in 2004 when he helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup. He scored 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games and Tampa Bay defeated the Calgary Flames in seven games in the Final.
"That's what I grew up dreaming about," he said, "even though I didn't think there was going to be a chance that I was going to have an opportunity to play [in the NHL]. To be a Stanley Cup winner is a pretty special group to be a part of."