Local Athlete makes it big playing with the Boston Bruins.
By Dave Kindy
Photography by Derrick Zellmann
From the time he was a young boy playing pond hockey and street hockey, Charlie Coyle has dreamed big. Like countless other young people from across New England, the Weymouth native was smitten with the storied Boston Bruins franchise and imagined what it would feel like to lead the team to victory one day.
Fast forward to today, and Coyle is living out his childhood fantasy. Traded to the Bruins in 2019, he now plays center for his hometown team. Tall and handsome, Coyle looks like Hollywood’s version of a professional athlete, but the thing that is most striking when you first meet #13 is his polite, down-to-earth personality. He enjoys reminiscing about growing up on the South Shore and talking about the rigors of playing professional hockey—a sport he’s loved since he was a kid.
“It’s great,” Coyle says with a relaxed smile. “When you’re younger, [playing professional hockey] is what you dream of. When I think back to that time in my life and then realize I’m playing for the Bruins now, it’s pretty special.”
Coyle’s played years of youth hockey before he moving up to play for Weymouth High School, leading the Wildcats to their first-ever appearance in the Super Eight finals in 2007. He later played for two years at Thayer Academy in Braintree before returning to Weymouth High School for his senior year. However, he didn’t play for the Wildcats that season. Instead, he skated for the South Shore Kings, a Junior A hockey team.
After graduation, Coyle went on to skate for Boston University for a year before joining the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In 2010, he was drafted by the San Jose Sharks and then traded to the Minnesota Wild. He was called up to the NHL in 2013 and became a stalwart center for the Midwest team. In fact, he played a franchise record of 316 consecutive games before breaking his leg.
In 2019, Coyle was traded to Boston to play for the Bruins—his dream team. Minnesota still holds a special place in Coyle’s heart, however. After all, that is where he met his fiancé Danielle Hooper, and where the pair will be married next summer. Interestingly, Hooper didn’t know much about hockey at the start of their relationship. “When I first met Danielle, I knew she wasn’t into sports,” Coyle recalls. “That intrigued me because I could get away from hockey with her at home. She didn’t know the game before, but she’s picked up quite a bit now. She’ll be watching a game with a friend and they’ll ask, ‘What was that call?’ I’ll hear her explain it and I’m like, ‘Oh my God!’ It’s so funny to see her doing that considering where she was before.”
Coyle and Hooper currently live in an upscale apartment in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood and spend much of their free time hanging out with a playful pair of golden retriever pups named Bodie and Gracie. “Our life revolves around them,” Coyle says. “I come home from the rink and take them outside to get exercise and play catch.”
Occasionally, when Coyle has a day off, the couple will drive south to Weymouth to spend time with his mother Theresa, his father Chuck, and sisters Jillian and Jessica. He’ll sit on the floor and play “mini-hockey” games with his nieces and nephews and connect with loved ones and friends at the golf course or local restaurants—which is something he couldn’t do when he was in Minnesota.
“You miss out on family stuff when you’re away,” he says. “Being [in Boston], I’m close to home. I can see my grandma, parents and friends more and there’s nothing like homecooked meals. On top of that, I’m playing for an ‘original six’ team. The Bruins are an unbelievable organization. It’s a win-win all the way around.”
Charlie Coyle and fiance Danielle Hooper with golden retriever pups Bodie and Gracie. Photo by Michael Penhollow
"You miss out on family stuff when you’re away. Being [in Boston], I’m close to home. I can see my grandma, parents, and friends more, and there’s nothing like home-cooked meals. On top of that, I’m playing for an ‘original six’ team. The Bruins are an unbelievable organization. It’s a win-win all the way around.”
Even though he’s playing in the NHL, Coyle has not forgotten his roots. The hockey star operates an online line of Weymouth-themed clothing with friends, appropriately named 3A Gear after the South Shore’s ubiquitous Route 3A. The brand includes all manner of hoodies, sweatshirts, hats and more with the town’s name, as well as Coyle’s name and his uniform number “13.”
“Half the proceeds go to the ‘Dungeon,’” he says. “That’s what we affectionately call the weight room at Weymouth High School, run by Pat O’Toole. I see people walking around town wearing the clothes. It’s so cool!”
For Coyle, the dream of playing for the Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals did come true, though the experience did not quite play out the way he envisioned it as a child. He and the team made it to the seventh game of the finals in 2019, matched up with the St. Louis Blues. Sadly, Boston lost the last game—and the Cup—4-1.
“It’s rough, especially losing game seven, but you gain all that experience and knowledge playing there,” says Coyle. “There are positives you take away from it, but basically it was the worst day of our lives.”
Despite this disappointment, Coyle keeps a positive attitude and is excited for the future. When he returned to the ice this season, following a period of recovery after knee surgery, the pressure was on for Coyle and the team to perform well. Naturally, his family and friends in the Weymouth community are some of his biggest fans.
“The support I get around Boston and on the South Shore has been awesome,” says Coyle. “I was lucky to live in such a great area when I was growing up. I want to play well for those people who helped me get here.”