Up until a few weeks ago most of Leafs Nation didn’t know the name Darryl Boyce unless they’ve watched the Marlies consistently over a number of years.
Before being called up for this recent stint Boyce had played all of one game up with the big club and that was right out the AUAA University of New Brunswick hockey program after playing in the OHL with the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors.
Otherwise Boyce rode the bus down with the AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies with the likes of Bates Bataglia, Alex Foster, Andre Deveaux, Anton Stralman, Ben Ondrus and Boyd Devereaux among others under the tutelage of mostly then-head coach Greg Gilbert who certainly instilled a strong work ethic with an Iron Mike Keanan style of coaching.
How do I know? I was down there covering the 2008/09 Marlies for T.O. Sports magazine while sitting beside Gurdeep Ahluwalia (now with CP24) and I had the opportunity to watch, interview and see Boyce in the dressing room in practice and in many game situations.
I had written an article mentioning which players should be brought up to help the ailing Leafs at the time and the players included Phil Oreskovic, Tim Stapleton, Juri Tlusty, Andre Deveaux, Anton Stralman and Darryl Boyce.
All were called up aside from the kid from Summerside P.E.I—yes, Darryl Boyce.
This is a lengthy exert from my article on November 24, 2009.
"If Brian Burke hadn’t picked up Colton Orr, Wayne Primeau, Nikolas Wallin, Victor Stalberg, Christian Hanson, and Tyler Bozak, perhaps Darryl Boyce might have gotten a fair shake and more of a look, or at least a chance in the preseason.
The Leafs are having a hard time keeping the puck out of there net with their defensive zone coverage. They sit near the bottom of the league in both penalty killing and goals against."
"Boyce brings a physical game every night and he gets his body in front of shots, which is a rarity for the team on the ice for the Leafs at this point."
"His speed is better than average and he is a tenacious forechecker in 5-on-5 and penalty kill situations.
He isn’t scared to drop the gloves and stand up for a teammate, as I have witnessed on a few occasions, and he can put the puck in the net when given the opportunity."
(as he’s done twice in six games up with Toronto adding two assists)
"He is excellent in his own zone and understands what is expected of him in whatever the situation may be.
Boyce has an incredible work ethic in practice and is one of the favourites in the dressing room with his great sense of humour and easy going mannerisms.
In my mind Darryl Boyce has all the qualities that would be beneficial to the Leafs and he would bring a few of the things that seem to be lacking. His toughness and work ethic may even rub off on some of the guys who need a kick in the butt. No one likes to be outworked, and with a guy pushing you, you can’t help but step up your game.
Richard Wallin was supposed to be a defensive specialist and hasn’t been much of anything, to be honest. Swap him out for this good Canadian guy who better fits this role.
Bring up Boyce and give the kid his shot! I don’t believe he will disappoint!"
(1. where’s Walin now and 2. did he ever amount to anything in Toronto? 1. Who cares? 2 NO!)
He has all of those good qualities I mentioned and has obviously improved on them.
I interviewed Boyce a number of times and I went back and listened to them and it really reminded me of what a class guy Boyce really was and I’m sure still is. He was always available for a comment and gave precise intelligent answers without shying away from the tougher questions thrown at him throughout the year from all of the media.
It’s truly a pleasure to see Mr. Boyce up playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs because if there is any guy who deserves it from down there on the farm it’s this hard nose hard working blue collar Canadian kid from Summerside P.E.I.
Good on ya Darryl, glad you're finally getting some well-deserved love from Leafs Nation, brass and media!
Best of luck!