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The Official Site of the Toronto Maple Leafs

Brains, Brawn and Books

by Paul Hendrick / Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs' quest to rebuild will go hand in hand with rebrand as well.

It's all about balance on the ice and off, changing the culture in the room, and being accountable at all times to its devoted fan base.

Toronto native Zach Hyman certainly meets that criteria and then some.

The 23-year-old forward has just completed four years at the University of Michigan. Athletically, he captured the Big Ten scoring title last spring with 54 points, was a Hobey Baker finalist and was honoured as his school's athlete of the year.

It's a feat that he and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady now share.

"College hockey was incredible for me " says Hyman. "It was special to spend four years there and develop not only as a player but as a person as well, get my degree, mature physically, and to know from 19 to 23 I have grown a lot."

Prior to attending Michigan, Hyman won a Canadian Junior Hockey League scoring title while playing with the Hamilton Red Wings.

That trend would eventually continue as a Wolverine but not before he completed his apprenticeship in Ann Arbor as a bottom six forward.

"My first and second years there I really learned to play on the defensive side of the puck," said Hyman. "I was fortunate to be coached by a hockey legend in Red Berenson. He taught me a lot about the defensive game saying if you're not scoring, you had better learn to keep the puck out of the net."

Academically, Hyman's impact might've been even more impressive. He graduated in May with an honours degree in history and was named a first team academic All-American.

Hyman has also written two children's books: 'The Bambino and Me' and the soon to be released 'Hockey Hero'. He's under contract with publisher Random House to write two more books as well.

"My books always have the same theme about kids believing in themselves and making their dreams come true."

Hyman has utilized his celebrity to carry his message to children throughout Michigan and Ontario to promote literacy and life skills.

"My parents taught me from a young age to always give back to the community. One way to do that is to go to schools, read to the kids, teaching about believing in yourself and when you believe in yourself, anything can happen. "

It's that same approach that Hyman applies to his hockey career. So very humble yet fiercely focused on the task at hand — someday playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His degree may have been history but when it comes to hockey, its all about a bright future for Zach Hyman.

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