Today, the CHL had their 3 stars of the month and Allen Americans’ forward Darryl Bootland, who likes to be called Boots or Booter over Darryl, was named the 2nd Star of the Month of December, due to his average with eight goals and four assists in 12 games. His biggest game was against the Fort Worth Brahmas, when he had the natural hat trick in the 4-1 win. On the season, the New Smyrna Beach, Florida native has 15 goals and 19 assists.
After a recent practice, I sat down with Bootland to learn about the first day he was being drafted to his style of play all the way down to when he first started playing hockey.
BlackoutDallas: How did it feel to be drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in 200o?
Darryl Bootland: It was amazing because my brother was in the organization at the time so he was playing Hershey and he signed with them also so it was a pretty cool experience to go through my first NHL training camp and have my brother there.
BD: Tell us about your first NHL game. Do you still have the puck?
Bootland: Oh yeah for sure. I got the puck, the skates, the stick, the jersey and the helmet so yeah you are not going to forget those days.
BD: What day was it?
Bootland: Well my first game was an exhibition game was probably the biggest one for me. I mean it was the most nerve wrecking one for me so I remember that one very well. That would have probably been in 02. The first game would have been against Nashville and that was during regular season so that was pretty exciting.
BD: What have you been doing over the summer besides getting ready for the new season?
Bootland: Well this year we were down in Texas so it was good for us. We are 3 hours away from Houston and the wife from the Montgomery area there so it was a pretty good situation for us.
BD: Your first year with the Allen Americans and they are in first place. How do you like it so far?
Bootland: I mean I had a blast. You know from top to bottom of the organization has been great to me and my family and Allen is a city and the whole fans have been great. It’s definitely has been a lot of fun.
BD: What type of player are you besides being a gritty and mean?
Bootland: I think earlier in my career I was a little more focused on the agitating and fighting and stuff but I think overtime and over the past 11 years, I really worked on my shot and being at the right place, at the right time. So I think I definitely helped out with the both ends of the ice for the team
BD: What type of style do you play?
Bootland: I am a gritty guy. I don’t like for anyone to mess around out there. I like to get to play the body and get some room for my teammates and hopefully they get to create some room and I can get into the open spot. So I think I try to be good defensively but I am a little bit more of a gritty player out there.
BD: How old were you when you played hockey?
Bootland: I first started originally playing hockey at 6 then but I started wearing my skates and watching my brother plays it at 3.
BD: Who inspired you to play hockey? Was it your brother?
Bootland: It would have been my brother and my dad. You know my dad played as a child and then my brother played a lot of pond hockey with him and his friends.
BD: If not hockey…then.
Bootland: I mean as a dream I would have to love been a rock star but in reality I would probably have try to stay in the hockey world. You know I definitely have the love for the game.
BD: What is the big difference between playing here in the CHL to playing in the NHL? Like what’s the big difference.
Bootland: I just think when you are in the NHL, it’s a lot faster and I always say that they talk more up there. I try to get the guys down here to talk on ice. I mean it helps out so much but when you are up there, you always know what to do because someone is yelling at you and someone is always in the right position so it’s a lot easier game to play up there.
BD: Who is the talker and who is the funniest?
Bootland: In my mind I would always say Drew Daniels, Double D. I think he is. Whenever I am having a bad day, I think he definitely cheers me up. I would definitely give myself the loudest guy in the room. I tend to get a little loud when we get to playing hockey.