Daryl Boyle admits he wasn’t even sure he was going to make Team Germany for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Not only was he named to the men’s hockey team, but Boyle, who first laced up his skates decades earlier in Sparwood,B.C., and the Germans would make the podium.
The 31 year old tells The Drive newsroom from his apartment in Munich, that it meant “everything” to him to be able to compete for an Olympic gold medal.
Boyle and Team Germany would settle for silver however, losing 4-3 in overtime to the Olympic Athletes of Russia in the men’s hockey tournament at the Pyeongchang Winter Games this month.
It’s still a remarkable feat for a country Boyle admits isn’t known for hockey.
“It wasn’t a fluke though. We worked hard,” Boyle exclaimed. “We played a solid team game through the whole tournament and we deserved to be there. It was just an unreal experience and something I’ll never forget.”
This from the former Sparwood Cougar who grew up battling rivals in Fernie and Elkford.
Now, he is an Olympian.
“It’s unbelievable,” Boyle says. “I couldn’t be more happy to say ‘I played in the Olympics.’”
Boyle and his family would relocate to Lethbridge when he was 12 but he still gives credit to where it all started.
“That’s where I learned to play the game, so I owe Sparwood a lot,” adding the community also provided for his family; his father worked at Teck’s Elkview coal mine until he retired.
As this month’s Olympic tournament progressed the Elk Valley product knew they weren’t a club to be taken lightly.
Germany opened the tournament with a 5-2 loss to Finland but heading into their second match against Sweden Boyle felt they still had a strong debut.
Germany then fell 1-0 to Sweden in its second outing, a game Boyle thought they should have won.
“I think from that point on, we kind of all believed, ‘We can do something here.’”
Boyle and Team Germany finished the preliminary round with victories over Norway and Switzerland.
The Germans would then send shockwaves through the world of hockey when they upset Team Sweden 4-3 in the quarterfinals.
This would set up a semi final match up against his native homeland as Germany was set to face Canada for a spot in the gold medal game.
Boyle tried to suggest he treated the match versus his fellow countrymen just like any other game.
“Maybe it’s a little different when you look over and see the maple leaf on their jersey,” he admits. “Growing up in Canada, that’s the jersey that I always wanted to wear.”
But in that moment, Boyle says he just wanted to get to the gold medal game, and Canada was in their way.
“So, I couldn’t be more happy that we ended up winning.”
Overall, Boyle was given an opportunity to see and try things he never thought he would. He was happy to visit a part of the world he’d never been to and taken in a new culture he knew little about.
He also became excited by spectating certain sports he never thought he’d cheer on.
Whether it was a gold medal, silver medal or bronze medal performance, Boyle just found himself getting caught up in the moment in Pyeongchang.
“You’re just so happy for all of them because of all the hard work they did over the years to make that happen. It was just a great experience, and I didn’t want it to end.”
– Sparwood native Daryl Boyle on Team Germany’s success at the Olympic Men’s Hockey Tournament
– Full interview: