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After Long Road to the NHL, Travis Boyd Ready to Keep Pushing Forward

The 25-year-old talks about his journey from the pond to the pros.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

One of the last to emerge from the ice at Medstar Capitals Iceplex, Travis Boyd settles into his stall, leaning back and taking in the room around him, one that he’s said he’s mesmerized to be in each and every day.

As he speaks, he sports a smile that never falters, as if he’s a kid in a candy store who can pick out anything he wants. He converses casually and in a way that’s unequivocally “cool” as he finds the right words to describe how he’s living out the aspirations that he set for himself years ago.

“I think from where I was when I got drafted, there was obviously a long ways I needed to come to get to this point and just keep working at it and kept trying to get better each season... it’s been a long road for me, but I’m super proud and happy to be where I am,” Boyd said, grinning.

Boyd grew up in Edina, Minnesota, getting his first pair of skates when he was three years old. During the winters, his dad would work tirelessly through the cold, late nights to build a backyard rink for the family, where Boyd constantly played and built his skill.

Without even hesitating, and even before finishing the question of if it’s always been hockey, he cut in with an excited “yes!”

He attended Hopkins High School in his hometown, and after putting up 26 goals and 51 points in 26 games, he went on to play with the U.S. National U18 Team’s Development Program and ultimately, the U18 team in the USHL.

During the 2010-11 campaign, he committed to play at the University of Minnesota and impressed with 13 goals and 38 points in 60 games. He also won a gold medal with the U18 team in the World Junior Championship.

Ultimately, his performance led to him being taken 177th overall in the sixth round by Washington.

2011 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

His success carried over to the Big Ten, where he continued to build his game over the course of his college career. He majored in business and marketing education as a general major, and though he had a fallback that would lead to a full-time job after graduation, he never considered pursuing a career that didn’t involve the NHL.

He moved closer and closer to that goal over the course of his college career. His first NCAA goal came in his freshman season and was a memorable one, one that would help the Golden Gophers reach the national championship game. The next year, he was an All-WCHA Academic honoree.

As a junior, he stepped up and again helped the Golden Gophers not only capture the Big Ten regular season championship, but return to the national championship with 32 points in 41 games. But his breakout season came during his senior year, where he scored 41 points in 32 games en route to the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships.

That put Boyd at center stage, and in March 2015, the Capitals inked Travis Boyd to a two-year, entry-level deal as he became the first Caps prospect from the 2011 draft class to be signed to a contract.

After ending his college career, he played two seasons with the Hershey Bears, posting back-to-back seasons with 20+ goals and 50+ points.

Eventually, he earned a call-up to the Capitals in 2017-18 after scoring 15 goals and 47 points with Hershey, and had two points in eight games to close out the regular season. He stayed on board through the Caps’ Stanley Cup run, but played in just one game: the Caps’ series-clinching Game 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Eventually, he’d hoist the Cup with his teammates.

“I was pretty successful down in Hershey, but you get to points and wonder if you’re ever getting a chance to come up here [to Washington] and sure enough, the first extended look I had was last spring,” Boyd said. “If I think back to the last 12 months, it’s crazy to think about being called up permanently to signing a new deal to winning a Stanley Cup. It’s been crazy. So I just try to take every day and enjoy it and cherish where I am.”

2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Caps rewarded Boyd’s determination with a two-year extension, one-way in the offseason. Heading into training camp, he was expected to be in great shape, even with a short summer, and ultimately, join the team full-time this season.

And he did just that; Boyd had an outstanding preseason performance, one that caught the attention of head coach Todd Reirden and earned him a spot on the opening night roster.

“When you’re in that role, you want to be a part of something,” Reirden said of Boyd at the start of the year. “You want to play a bigger role, and I think that’s something that a guy like that was really able to use as motivation this summer.”

However, in the last days of the preseason, he injured his left foot blocking a shot, placing him on the long-term injured reserve to start the season.

Still, he didn’t let that take him down for too long; soon after the injury and after sporting a protective boot, he started conditioning and eventually made his way back onto the ice, returning on Nov. 5 against Edmonton, where he put up two assists in his first game back.

Since then, he’s scored five goals and 20 points, all while fighting and competing for a permanent spot in the lineup and bringing a lot to the fourth line beyond his numbers.

The road has been a long one for the 25-year-old, but it’s still only just beginning. And he’s ready for that challenge.

“This [journey] is why I’m so proud to be where I am,” Boyd said. “Because truthfully, I’m living out a childhood dream... honestly, coming to the rink every morning is a dream come true.”