Boyd Devereaux may be remembered in Detroit as a member of the 2002 Stanley Cup team, but that wasn’t the only time he made a run for a championship.
Canada’s figure skating reality show “Battle of the Blades” is just a little bit different from the NHL. That never bothered Devereaux, though. He described the competition as a fun challenge, even when his friends found it amusing.
“I definitely get grief from a lot of the guys but you have to expect that,” Devereaux said with a laugh. “But it was great to see the looks on my daughters’ faces. They didn’t see a lot of my hockey playing in the NHL so it was kind of neat to see them see their dad in the spotlight.”
Devereaux and his partner finished just short of first place, but a bronze medal still gave them a substantial prize for their charities of choice. The 13-year hockey veteran had come a long way from playing pickup games on Ontario’s farms.
The center started playing hockey when he was about five-years-old and became a junior hockey standout in the Ontario Hockey League. His childhood dream of playing in the NHL became reality when the Edmonton Oilers drafted him with the No. 6 overall pick in the 1996 draft.
“To be picked by the Oilers, which had a lot of tradition as a Canadian team and to go right around where I was anticipated to go was a nice feeling,” Devereaux said. “You have to take a lot of pride in the accomplishments along the way and that was a real big one so we celebrated and then it was on to making the leagues.”
Devereaux had one more stop to make before the NHL, though. He represented Canada in the 1997 World Junior Championship, scoring the game-winning goal against the United States that gave his country the gold. It was one of Devereaux’s favorite hockey memories.
“To get to be in a tournament atmosphere which doesn’t happen a lot in hockey, to come through on top and win the gold with a great bunch of guys … you make some lifelong relationships through the whole thing,” he said. “We bonded so quickly with players from around the country and it was really one of the most remarkable experiences of my career.”
Devereaux played for Toronto until he was traded to the Red Wings in 2000. He couldn’t believe his luck
“I was a Red Wings’ fan growing up so coming there via free agency, I was so excited that they were interested in signing me that actually after I signed the deal I couldn’t quite believe it,” Devereaux said. “I got down to Detroit and it was just such a wealth of experience and a challenge.”
The Red Wings won their 10th Stanley Cup in Devereaux’s second season on the roster. After brief stops in Phoenix and Toronto, Devereaux took his talents overseas to play for HC Lugano of the Swiss National League. But a hard hit in Switzerland’s Spengler Cup in 2009 left Devereaux with a fractured vertebrate and an early retirement.
“That’s usually how it goes with a big hit,” Devereaux said. “It just kind of comes out of nowhere. It was a big hit and it ended up being a more serious thing and I never experienced a feeling like it. I thought it was a stinger or something but I felt a weird sensation down my arm and back and then we learned later that I had fractured the vertebrate.”
Devereaux didn’t have any trouble starting his post-hockey career back home in Canada. He had already co-founded an independent music label with Joe Greenwald, a friend he had met after signing with the Wings.
“Joe did really act as a big brother passing his musical knowledge on down to the little brother a little bit,” Devereaux said. “I’ve always loved music but he really set me on the path of some underground that got my wheels turning. I was very passionate about it and started devouring it.”
Elevation Recordings focused on releasing limited edition music from a variety of bands. Even though the label has been inactive for a few years, Devereaux applied his love for music to his newest endeavor: video production. His second company, Waking Sound Productions, combines music and film to produce sports movies. After releasing a successful 30-minute documentary about Mats Sundin’s retirement from the Maple Leafs, Devereaux is eager to see what the future holds for his company
“We have some ideas for some really cool stuff and talking to various teams and the NHL and the NHLPA, trying to put some ideas out there,” Devereaux said. “It certainly helps when our body of work has gotten larger so now we can show what we can do and what we’ve done to these companies and teams.”
After years of being on the ice at the center of attention, Devereaux has found a comfort zone behind the camera. He doesn’t plan on leaving his new post anytime soon, either – especially if it meant entering the recording studio.
“Oh no, I appreciate these artists too much,” Devereaux said with a laugh.
Never say never. There’s always “Battle of the Bands.”