FI­NALLY, A LO­CAL LEAF

Parochial school grad Zach Hyman on play­ing for the home team

The Kids Post - - Contents - By Jai Boyal

Hockey star Zach Hyman is one of a num­ber of lo­cals aim­ing to help the Maple Leafs re­gain past glory

Af­ter years of abysmal hockey, Leafs na­tion seems to have a feel­ing of op­ti­mism for the up­com­ing sea­son.

That op­ti­mism is thanks to the team’s new head coach, Mike Bab­cock, who made a procla­ma­tion at his in­tro­duc­tion press con­fer­ence:

“Mark my words, the On­tario boys will come home.”

The Leafs lived up to that prom­ise by se­lect­ing three On­tario-born play­ers this past NHL en­try draft, and they also traded for Zach Hyman, a For­est Hill na­tive and Univer­sity of Michigan grad.

Hyman be­gan mak­ing waves in the hockey world while play­ing for the Hamil­ton Red Wings of the OJHL (On­tario Ju­nior A Hockey League) where he posted 102 points in 43 games his fi­nal sea­son.

He cred­its his suc­cess to the skills he ac­quired while at­tend­ing Ta­nen­baumCHAT (Com­mu­nity He­brew Academy Of Toronto).

“Go­ing to CHAT, you learned a lot about time man­age­ment. You had to bal­ance both English cour­ses with He­brew cour­ses,” he says.

When Hyman was first drafted to the NHL in 2010, he wasn’t seen as a top prospect. Then in his se­nior year at Univer­sity of Michigan (2014–15), he had a ca­reer year and was amongst the best in the NCAA (Na­tional Col­lege Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion).

“Ev­ery­thing just kind of came to­gether in my fourth year. Ev­ery year you try and get bet­ter: that’s my phi­los­o­phy,” he says.

“And the only way to do that is with a pos­i­tive mind­set and strong work ethic.”

With 54 points in 37 games, he was nom­i­nated for the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s Player of the Year while col­lect­ing nine other ac­co­lades from both the Univer­sity of Michigan and NCAA.

In ad­di­tion to his on-ice tal­ents, Hyman is also a pub­lished au­thor. His first chil­dren’s book, The Bam­bino and Me, was re­leased in 2014. His sec­ond book, Hockey Hero, will be re­leased in Septem­ber.

Now Hyman is ready to en­ter his first NHL train­ing camp with the team he idol­ized as a child.

“When I got traded it was kind of a shock but a re­ally in­cred­i­ble feel­ing get­ting the op­por­tu­nity to play for my home town team,” he says.

His ad­vice for young ath­letes is to bal­ance aca­demics and sports.

“If you have an op­por­tu­nity to get an ed­u­ca­tion and pur­sue your dream of what­ever sport you’re play­ing, I en­cour­age you to do it. Just re­mem­ber that if you be­lieve in your­self, any­thing is pos­si­ble. En­joy the process, en­joy the jour­ney, and have fun with it.”

The Maple Leafs open their pre­sea­son sched­ule on Sept. 21 at the Air Canada Cen­tre.

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