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Boyd Right At Home On The Ice

Panthers 2010 seventh rounder RJ Boyd pursues his dreams to become first Florida raised player to play for Florida team.

Friday, 07.29.2011 / 1:45 PM / News
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Boyd Right At Home On The Ice
R.J. Boyd skates recently in a practice at Panthers Development Camp (Glenn Odebralski)
By Yana Loftus-Farren for floridapanthers.com

Despite growing up in the Sunshine State, R.J. Boyd is comfortable on the ice. 

Boyd was a talented young athlete, playing both baseball and lacrosse as a child, but it was his involvement in roller hockey that eventually led him down the path of becoming a pro hockey player. 

“I played roller hockey and then they built an ice rink near my house so I just decided to switch over,” said Boyd.

The development of the new facility in his hometown of Sarasota, Florida motivated Boyd to join the Florida Eels Ice Hockey organization at the age of 12. According to Eels General Manager Frank Scarpaci, their primary mission is to develop players for college hockey, so when one of their players gets drafted to the NHL it’s considered “icing on the cake.”

Although Boyd got off to a late start in comparison to most hockey players, as a defenseman he possessed the talent, skating ability, speed and size to work his way up the ranks of professional hockey. However when asked during the recent Panthers Development Camp what his biggest difficulty has been in making it to his current standing, Boyd answered honestly.

“Definitely the fact that I haven’t been playing my whole life…A lot of these guys in here have been skating since they were two years old, and they come from a huge family background of hockey," said Boyd. "My parents never played hockey; they were football and volleyball players.”

This is not to say he wasn’t familiar with the game as a child. Growing up in Detroit, Boyd’s father was an avid Red Wings fan and the family often drove throughout the state of Florida to attend Panthers and Lightning games.

In 2007, Boyd took his talents to Cushing Academy in order to further his advancement in hockey. The college preparatory boarding school, located in Massachusetts, is recognized for its prestigious academic program as well as a thriving athletics department. The Cushing ice hockey team has produced a number of notable National Hockey League players including Keith Yandle and Zach Bogosian. 

By the time senior year rolled around, Boyd had the stats to catch and hold the attention of professional scouts; he scored four goals and chipped in 18 assists in 31 games during his fourth year at Cushing. It was at that point where his thoughts on hockey as a future changed.

“The Panthers had started talking to me more and I figured I might be drafted," said Boyd. "That eventually changed my vision for my life and what I wanted to pursue in life.”

Soon after the close of the 2010 season, Boyd was selected by the Panthers with the third pick in the seventh round (182 overall). In that moment not only did he get one step closer to realizing his dreams of playing in the NHL, Boyd also made hockey history by becoming the first Florida raised player to be drafted by a Florida team.

After a less than satisfying 2010-2011 season, which he started at Sacred Heart University and finished with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League, Boyd remains motivated and positive about the future. He was recently traded to the Indiana Ice (also of the USHL), leaving him optimistic for the upcoming season.

“Indiana will be a great team and I hope to win the league in the USHL,” said Boyd.

Although it will be some time before he potentially hits the ice as a Panther, Boyd expressed excitement to return to Florida for several reasons: he will have the chance to represent his home state on the ice and he will once again live in close proximity to his family and friends that reside in the area.

As the Panthers look forward to his potential arrival to South Florida, the excitement is mutual.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
3 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
11 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 64 22 16 -9 38
J. Huberdeau 61 9 28 3 37
A. Ekblad 64 11 23 7 34
J. Jokinen 63 6 28 -1 34
B. Boyes 62 11 21 8 32
J. Jagr 60 12 19 -10 31
J. Hayes 55 17 12 -4 29
B. Campbell 64 3 20 2 23
A. Barkov 53 10 12 -5 22
V. Trocheck 34 5 11 8 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .921 2.37
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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