Curt Doyle came into this Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) season wanting to prove something to himself.
The Osoyoos Coyotes goalie wanted to improve his numbers from last year with the Castlegar Rebels – four wins in 13 games and 3.90 GAA and .877 save percentage. A concussion sidetracked him and created an inner drive to play better.
“I wanted to come in and be the best goalie in the league. I wasn’t really accepting anything less than that,” says Doyle, who led KIJHL goalies with 13 game stars (eight on the road), tying him with Kimberley Dynamiters forward Brock Palmer.
It has been as he describes an up and down season. It started with his hometown Nelson Leafs where he played six games and recorded two losses. He was then dealt to the Coyotes.
The Nelson product went on to win seven times in 37 games. He remained very positive throughout.
“We have a great group of guys. It’s been one of my finest years of hockey,” says Doyle. “I’m really fortunate to be in Osoyoos. It’s a great town. We have great coaches. It’s been really awesome. I’ve had a great year. My numbers have been great too. I thought I played pretty strong, which has also made me pretty happy.”
When asked if he feels he is among the best goalies in the league, Doyle believes he is.
Coyotes goalie Curt Doyle snags this puck during KIJHL action.
Doyle played his first KIJHL game as a 15-year-old with the Nitehawks in 2014-15. In the four years he’s been in the league, the six-foot-one, 180 pound netminder says he has grown more as a person than player. He has matured a lot since first entering the league.
“It’s been a great learning curve for me,” he says. “It’s been awesome. It’s a great league. Every game is hard work. It’s a hard game to win.”
An example of hard games to win was a challenging overtime victory on Jan. 12 against the North Okanagan Knights in Oliver. Both goalies had to make difficult saves, but also had tough goals get past them.
When talking about his play, Doyle says there are rinks he likes better. He gets in a groove. There are teams he knows guys on and that gives him an extra push.
His family and goalie coaches are key to his success, adding he wouldn’t be where he is without them. Doyle has worked relentlessly on improving his positioning, especially with his goalie coach Alex Evin, the head coach of the B.C. Hockey League’s Prince George Spruce Kings. Doyle credits Evin for helping take his game to the next level with fine tuning.
Now that Doyle’s career is over, after 100 KIJHL regular season games, and six in the playoffs, he hopes to commit to a university of college in Canada or the U.S. He has some interest, but hasn’t made up his mind on where to go.
He dreams of playing professionally, but if that doesn’t happen, his backup plan is to become a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.