Going for the goal

Braden Doyle has been playing hockey his entire life, but this year the Lynnfield native will start a new journey.

Doyle is entering his freshman year at Boston University, where he will continue his hockey career. The 20-year-old defenseman is excited to get his first season with the Terriers off and running.

“This is what I worked hard for and I’m just so happy to be here finally,” said Doyle, who spent the previous three seasons with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League. “It’s been a lot of fun meeting the guys. The pace of hockey is so much better and I’m just having a lot of fun here.”

Doyle has been playing hockey since he was 4 years old. His father played collegiate hockey for Merrimack College, and the 20-year-old credits his father as being a huge influence on him.

At the age of 7, Doyle and his family moved to Lynnfield. He loves that he is able to be close to Boston — especially after being in Iowa for the last three years.

“It was a great community,” Doyle said. “I have a bunch of family in Lynnfield, a bunch of friends, and they are all really excited to come watch me play and I’m excited to play for them.”

Doyle has traveled near and far to play the game he loves. He played three high-school seasons at Lawrence Academy, where he amassed 14 goals and 57 assists. He then made the move to Dubuque and the USHL — the top junior hockey league in the United States — in 2018 and spent three seasons with the Fighting Saints. In the 2021 season, he tallied five goals and 19 assists in 51 games.

Doyle is excited to get his college career started and play in a faster game that he feels suits his style of play.

As a freshman, expectations are low for the Lynnfield native, but he hopes to earn the trust of head coach Albie O’Connell and his staff.

“I just have to earn my ice time and take what is given to me and capitalize on the opportunities and I’m excited to work hard for that,” Doyle said.

Even before his college career started, Doyle had accomplished the dreams of every hockey player. In the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Draft, the Los Angeles Kings called his name.

Doyle said that he has been able to participate in developmental camps with the Kings and is looking forward to starting his NHL career relatively soon. Doyle credited the Kings’ developmental staff, which has continued to work on his game while he is in school.

“They said whenever I need, we can watch some video together,” said Doyle. “It’s definitely a good resource to use.”

While Doyle has been successful in the offensive zone, he said in his freshman year he hopes to become a more complete player.

“I’ve always been pretty good offensively and I’m just trying to get more trust from the coaches back in the defensive end,” said Doyle. “I’ve been working really hard learning defensive-zone position, gap control, and I think it’s paying off.”