How paralyzed hockey player Travis Roy inspired new Devils coach John Hynes

Posted on June 9, 2015

Published: Wednesday, June 3, 2015
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NEWARK — He was on the bench that awful day on Oct. 20, 1995, and it made a lasting impact on his life. How could it not?

John Hynes watched as his freshman teammate at Boston University, a quiet kid named Travis Roy, skated off the bench and — just 11 seconds into his first shift as a college player — crashed head first into the boards.

He watched in horror with everyone else in the arena, hoping and praying for any sign that Roy was okay. But he remained face down on the ice, motionless, and the news everyone had feared came soon after: Roy, just 20, had fractured the fourth and fifth vertebrae in his neck.

It was a moment that changed everything for Roy, who went from being a freshman dreaming of a long NHL career to being quadriplegic with no movement below his chest in just one awful collision. But it also shaped the man who was introduced Tuesday as the new head coach of the Devils.

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