Hockey Fights Cancer Night hit very close home for the New Jersey Devils this year, considering forward Brian Boyle was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) back in September.
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Boyle's family, wife Lauren, son Declan and daughter Isabella, were in attendance for the ceremonial puck drop where 13-year-old Jennifer, a patient from the Children's Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, did the honors. Boyle, of course, took the faceoff.
The Devils had three youth patients join the team on the ice for the ceremony and employed eight-year-old Abdiel Collazo as honorary the Coach of the Day.
Collazo, who is currently in remission after a two-year battle, ran the morning skate, met with the media and announced the starters in the team's dressing room.
And, as if it were scripted, Boyle scored a goal in the 3-2 win.
After the game, Boyle was named the first star and said the support he has been given from his team and the fans has been "unbelievable."
Video: VAN@NJD: Boyle pots PPG on Hockey Fights Cancer night