Prospect camp is always a fun time, because for every normal path to a potential hockey career there’s an oddball journey – such as the one Zach Hyman is on.
Hyman is attending his third camp with the Florida Panthers after being drafted in the fifth round in 2010. Consider his:
He won CJHL Player of the Year in 2011 with the Hamilton Red Wings, after scoring 42 goals.
Hyman’s father, Stuart Hyman, owns the Red Wings and has owned “over 100 junior teams” according to Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel, who writes:
Jealous team owners, parents and opposing players felt that Hyman - who was charging more expensive registration fees for improved coaching and equipment - was in it for profit and to further his sons' hockey careers.
"I'd hear that I was getting ice time because your dad owns the team,'' Zach said. "It gave me a harder outer shell to be able to walk away from that.''
Zach Hyman, who is Jewish, has also had to hear “the occasional anti-Semitic chirp on ice.” Because hockey players can be terrible that way.
Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the University of Michigan forward’s life: He’s a published children’s book author.
His book "Hockey Hero,'' about a shy hockey player who overcomes playing in his more successful brother’s shadow and makes the NHL, earned him speaking engagements at schools around Canada and a two-book deal with Random House. A followup, the Babe Ruth tale “The Bambino and Me”, is due out this year.
Said Hyman, to the Panthers website last season:
“I wrote it in seventh grade for a short story competition,” noted Hyman. “It won a creative writing award and the teacher said it was really good, so from there I kept on working on it and it turned into this book. It kind of all happened at once.”
What a thrill for the Panthers. In the sense that they have a published author in their system that writes at the reading comprehension level of most of their players.