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Toughness Runs in the Byers Family

Wednesday, 07.25.2007 / 9:12 AM ET / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop  - BostonBruins.com
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Toughness Runs in the Byers Family
John Bishop is the beat writer for BostonBruins.com. He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
Anyone who ever saw ex-Boston Bruin Lyndon Byers play hockey or ever listened to him on the radio on WAAF's Hill-man Morning Show knows that he wears his big heart on his sleeve.

And after recently listening to him gush about his daughter Kia Byers (for example, "I am just really, really proud of my daughter") and her upcoming trip to the Pan American games ("My heart's out of my chest"), you know that he couldn't be more excited -- or more heartbroken that he can't make it to Brazil to see her compete.

"Because of my job at WAAF, I couldn't free up the time to fly down for all of her events," said LB via cell phone. "But I'll definitely be watching."

"Thankfully, I am on vay-kay this week so I am excited.

"She competes in her first event on Thursday (July 26th)," he said.

At 19, Kia has been competing in flat water canoeing since 2000, having picked up the sport in 1998.

"It was one of those things," said the elder Byers. "She went to a regatta and she just loved what they were doing and she's been doing it ever since.

"So it's pretty cool."

Pretty cool is an understatement -- the Pan American Games could lead to Kia's making a Canadian Olympic Team.

"That's one of the reasons she's so fired up," said an equally fired up LB. "This gives her the chance to qualify and try and compete for the Olympics.

"It's pretty amazing…I'm kind of blown away.

"I see her online and I see her name up with all of these athletes in a world-class event," he said.

When asked about whether the two had compared athletic notes, the legendary LB self-deprecation got pretty serious.

"Basically I let her do what she does best," said Byers. "I don't know anything about canoeing -- and not for nothing, but I wasn't that good at hockey.

"I don't know if I would be the best guy to ask advice of.

Kia Byers
"If anything I would refer her to Cam Neely or Ray Bourque, maybe," he said, laughing.

Most of New England is up in arms at this point, because every fan of the Black & Gold knows that whatever LB lacked in pure hockey skill, he made up for in toughness and determination.

Obviously those are both traits that his daughter shares with her pop.

"She's amazing," he said. "She's about 5'10, 145 lbs -- shredded -- and I've got to believe that just the sport she's competing in makes her tough.

"It's an endurance type sport (and) I compare it to boxing, because you actually have to get beat up to become better at beating people up.

"In flat water canoeing you have to beat yourself up (training wise) to become better," LB explained.

Her sport has also opened up Kia's world.

"She's been to Hungary and Croatia," said LB, incredulously. "She's been to Germany.

"She goes down to Florida and competes."

Lyndon Byers
Questioned, seriously, as to whether he was able to give her any advice, Byers explained that he kept it simple.

"You don't know really know what to say," he said. "I told her to focus and that when she went down to Brazil -- if it doesn't pertain to flat water canoeing, then 'x' it off of your things to do.

"I want her to go down and not get side tracked or worry about being a tourist, instead of being an athlete."

Judging by her list of accomplishments (plenty of top-three finishes and a couple of national records) there is no chance of that, but obviously, LB isn't so concerned about medals or records.

"I wished her well and told her no matter what happens she's awesome and it's incredible."

In the end, however, some of LB's own competitive juices spilled over, too.

"It's always good to win, though," he said with his trademark snicker.

----

Beyond his daughter's doings, the always-frenetic Lyndon Byers has a lot of things on his own plate.

Besides his very successful morning gig as the sports guy on the Hill-Man show, the former Bruins tough guy has also started his own company -- Live Big Productions, and will soon start a clothing line.

LB at the PMC
"I've been super busy," said Byers. "We've been meeting with stores and hopefully it will work out great.

"It's been crazy."

Crazy also describes his training regimen for his upcoming stint with the Boston Bruins Pan-Mass Challenge team.

"I got to be involved with it last year," said Byers. "And I never had any concept about how big it was and what an amazing weekend it is.

"The event itself is bigger than anybody who takes part in it.

"To think that 4000 riders can 'git her done' -- I'll never not do it," he said.

What about that training program?

"There is no training, sir. If I am going to hurt, I am only going to hurt for one day."

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