HEAD OF THE PACK: Jamaica native has carved career from CK hockey coach to AHL assistant – QNS.com

HEAD OF THE PACK: Jamaica native has carved career from CK hockey coach to AHL assistant

By Dylan Butler

And while the Jamaica native has never scripted his career, the former Christ the King coach isn't complaining either.”I guess you never know what's going to happen in life, but I'm just taking it one step at a time,” Boller said. “I never envisioned being where I am. It's funny how things happen in life.”Sipping on another cup of coffee, Boller stands along the corner boards at an empty XL Center, formerly known as the Hartford Civic Center. It's a couple of hours before the opening face-off and Boller is just a few feet from the coach's office, where he is an assistant coach for the Hartford Wolf Pack, a minor-league affiliate of the Rangers.”It's pretty surreal,” Boller said. “Things are happening so fast, you don't realize it. When you do realize it is when I'm around family and friends and they'll say, 'It's got to be amazing to be doing what you're doing.' Then you think about it.”Boller, 34, is living a dream, although it's not necessarily his. He wanted to be a hockey coach on a high level, but that level for him was college. After graduating from Christ the King in 1990, Boller played at Division III SUNY Purchase and was a member of the Manhattanville College coaching staff from 2005-07.But it's with the New York Rangers organization that Boller has forged a successful career.He started as an administrative intern in 1998 and stayed with the club as an assistant in team operations, helping to organize team travel. Boller would go on to become the coaches' assistant and director of operations, Madison Square Garden Training Center. In that capacity, Boller worked closely with Rangers' video analyst Jerry Dineen to prepare video, assist in pre-scouting and tracking statistics.All the while, though, Boller longed to coach, which he did at Christ the King and the Empire State Games for the New York City team.”I've had the opportunity to work under so many different coaches in New York,” Boller said. “All of them gave me an opportunity to sit and watch, like a fly on the wall.”Boller also had the chance to work as an assistant for Team USA at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia.”That was unbelievable,” he said. “Anytime you can do something for your country like that, it's obviously the ultimate.”When Jim Schoenfeld, who spent the past two seasons as head coach/GM of the Hartford Wolf Pack, was named assistant general manager for player personnel of the Rangers this year, former Wolf Pack assistant coach Ken Gernander was named head coach, opening up a position on the coaching staff.Boller thought he had a shot, and received the call from Schoenfeld when Boller was on his way to Hershey, Pa., for a vacation with family during the summer.”It was extremely emotional for me,” he said.In his capacity as an assistant coach of the American Hockey League, Boller does a little bit of everything, from administrative duties to video work to individual coaching.”He's been a great addition,” Gernander said. “His hockey knowledge really helps us in terms of video, which is one of his strengths…He's been excellent and he's been a pretty tireless worker, as well.”But Boller said he's just approaching his job the way he always has, whether it was at Christ the King, the Empire State Games, Manhattanville College or the Hartford Wolf Pack.”I've always tried to work hard, be persistent, keep my head down and get the job done,” Boller said. “That's what I've always done and it's gotten me to a good place now and you never know where it's going to lead you.”Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at news@TimesLedger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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