Talyn Boyko: The Last Hurrah
Kelowna Rockets goaltender Talyn Boyko celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday by travelling through a handful of different airports en route to Kelowna after being returned to the Rockets from the New York Rangers affiliate the Jacksonville Icemen.
“Definitely a birthday to remember for sure, haven’t had one quite like that,” said Boyko after dropping off his gear at Prospera Place earlier today.
“I left my hotel room at like 9:30 am eastern time in Jacksonville, Florida and I got into Kelowna at like midnight pacific time, so it was like a seventeen-hour travel day. ”
Boyko has spent the last few weeks going from hotel to hotel, drafted by the Rangers in the fourth round of the 2021 NHL Draft he wasn’t exactly sure where he would end up this season.
He arrived at the Rangers camp as an unsigned player, but as a 20-year-old he was eligible to make the jump to their AHL/ECHL affiliate or be returned to Kelowna for his overage season,
The Rangers rookie camp opened on September 14th, he then moved into their main camp on September 21st. Eight days later he was assigned to their AHL affiliate the Hartford Wolf Pack on September 29th. On October 8th he was assigned to their ECHL affiliate, the Jacksonville Icemen where four goalies were listed on their training camp roster, including two who were already signed to contracts.
On October 11th he was rewarded with a three-year, entry-level contract from the Rangers.
Over the weekend, Boyko’s playing situation was settled with him being reassigned to the Rockets for his final year of junior.
We asked the 6’8, 200-pound netminder what it’s like to prepare for a season where you don’t know where and what level you’ll be playing.
He said that he kept busy training in the gym with Crash Conditioning, being on the ice with NHL players and working with goaltender coaches Kevin Swanson and Eli Wilson. Heading into camp he set out a couple of goals for himself.
“My goal was to go to New York and get a contract firstly and then I wanted to stick in their system. I was able to achieve one of those goals and I’m happy to have signed and be a part of their organization, but there’s still so much work to be done. I’m excited about the opportunity here this season in Kelowna.”
Asked if he was relieved to sign his contract before being returned to Kelowna, he said that he didn’t have many doubts about if it would happen and that it’s actually helped his confidence.
“It was relieving but I was confident that it would happen at some point, so I don’t think I was too stressed out about it. It’s definitely a boost of confidence to be a part of any NHL organization, but to be a part of an Original Six team like that it’s pretty special.”
Boyko said that while at the Rangers camp he was able to pick up things from their pro players, including reigning Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin.
“It was an awesome experience to be around those guys that you watch on TV while growing up, it’s crazy to be around guys like Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. Even Igor Shesterkin, to be able to watch him and pick up little things from him. At that level it’s all about the details and picking up work habits, what guys do off of the ice is so critical.”
As for passing through the ranks over the last few weeks, the Drumheller, Alta. product said that they all provided different experiences but at the end of the day being a goaltender means that he only has one job to do.
“Each camp and level is a little bit different, they bring different challenges and things like that. For me, it’s kind of always the same game, it’s to stop the puck and keep it out of the net, at different levels you might have to react differently based on the speed and structure. For instance, things happen a little faster at the NHL level with maybe a little more structure.”
With an NHL contract in hand, the Rockets 2022 MVP has returned for his last hurrah of junior hockey and is ready to check off a new set of goals.
“I’ve watched a bit of this season, keeping up with the Rockets while I was gone. We’re really lucky here, we’ve got an awesome makeup of guys who look really good on the ice, I think we’re really close to taking that next step and being one of the elite teams in the league. Expectations are high and our goal is to win as many games as possible and then go on a run with the ultimate goal of winning the Western Hockey League and going to the Memorial Cup.”