Though it’s been only one year since the 2019 QMJHL, it’s already proven fruitful for the Charlottetown Islanders.
Whether it be by drafting Justin Gill and Jacob Goobie or acquiring Oscar Plandowski and Drew Elliott, the Islanders iced a number of 16-year-olds last season that will look to make a bigger impact this season. On top of that, the team drafted a number of other players that are knocking on the QMJHL door.
One such player is Ben Boyd. The 6’2 forward from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia earned a taste of QMJHL action last season, getting in to two regular season games with the Isles. This season, Boyd is looking to stay in Charlottetown for good, and has been preparing accordingly.
“I’ve been on the ice 3-5 times a week with Jill Plandowski and JP MacCallum, and I’ve also been in the gym with JP five times a week,” Boyd explained regarding his summer routine. “In that time I’ve added about five pounds of muscle; I’m currently weighing around 203 pounds. At the same time, I’ve gotten faster since last year. I’ve really worked hard.”
Following his two-game stint with the Isles last year, Boyd returned to the Cole Harbour Wolfpack of the now-NSU18MHL. He put together a stellar season, more than doubling his point total to 33 from 15 the year before. In the shortened playoffs Boyd was a beast, recording 13 points and 45 penalty minutes in 11 games played. Following the season, the big forward spoke with Islanders head coach and general manager Jim Hulton, who emphasized what he’d like Boyd to work on heading in to this important camp.
“The coaches wanted me to work on my speed,” Boyd explained. “Being a big player, it’s important to keep up with the pace so I’m constantly working on my speed. They also wanted me to work on playing my game. They don’t want to change my game, and they don’t want me to be a player that I’m not.”
Heading in to his second QMJHL training camp, Boyd has set expectations for himself to live up to the player that the coaches expect him to be.
“I want to be the player that isn’t afraid to go into any area on the ice. I want to be the hardest-working guy on the ice all the time.” said Boyd “I really want to use my body to my advantage; being a big player, I want to use that in a way some players can’t. I want to take everything I’ve learned this summer and show the coaches and the team that I’m ready for the next level.”
Boyd was known as a leader on his Wolfpack team this season. That leadership role was instilled in him at a young age from a role model in his life: his cousin, Jordan Boyd.
QMJHL fans will be familiar with Jordan’s name; the 16-year-old forward was attending his first training camp with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan when he tragically passed away after collapsing on the ice during a drill. It was later learned that Jordan had an inherited heart condition called ARVC (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricle Cardiomyopathy).
Ben said that his cousin was a source of inspiration to him, and that he wanted to emulate the player and person that he was.
“I really looked up to Jordan when I was younger. He was a really great hockey player and a really great guy,” said Ben regarding Jordan. “Everything about him I tried to copy too. The reason I push myself so hard is so that I can be like him, not just on the ice but off it too.”
“If I can make it at this level, I know he’d be really happy for me to fulfill my dreams. He would be really proud of me.”
The Jordan Boyd Foundation was set up in Jordan’s name in 2014 to support CPR and AED awareness efforts in Nova Scotia. In that time, the foundation has raised over $725,000 and awarded 23 students with scholarships totalling over $46,000.
Ben Boyd will join the rest of his teammates at the Charlottetown Islanders 2020 Training Camp sponsored by ADL starting Sunday August 30th. Charlottetown’s firs exhibition game will take place on Wednesday, September 2nd in Moncton against the Wildcats at 2:00pm.