Believe in yourself.
It’s a simple message that Zach Hyman delivers as an author of children’s books and demonstrates as a forward for the University of Michigan.
Hyman talks the talk having published two children’s books and walks the walk as his 35 points leads the B1G through 22 games this season. Confident in his abilities, Hyman wants to inspire young children to set goals and pursue them.
“The books I write all have this theme,” Hyman said. “I felt like children would grasp that theme that they’re young and they can make their dreams happen because they believe in themselves. It’s a universal theme that I’ve been going on with all my stories. I really enjoyed children’s books when I was little so I thought they would enjoy it too.”
Published by Random House, Hyman has released “Hockey Hero,” the story of a boy who makes it to the NHL, and “The Bambino and Me,” a story about a young New York Yankees fan who admires Babe Ruth.
Hyman discovered his passion for writing in seventh grade when he wrote the first draft of “Hockey Hero.” Since then, he has revised the story in addition to writing “The Bambino and Me” while pursuing his hockey career. Writing short stories was Hyman’s way of being active in the community and served as an outlet away from the rink.
“I really enjoy it, it’s a passion of mine to write,” Hyman said. “I find it really relaxes you and just being able to tell a story, especially for it to be based on kids when I read them stories is really special.”
A fifth-round pick of the Florida Panthers in 2011, Hyman is chasing a dream of his own to one day play in the NHL. On a seven-game goal streak and leading the conference in points, Hyman has led Michigan during an impressive 13-1-0 run. While he is talented with a pen in hand, his creativity on the ice has Hyman in consideration for the Hobey Baker Award.
“They’re completely different types of creativity,” he said. “On the ice it’s more improv and you’re creating things with the play — you’ve gotta read the play — and when I’m writing, I create things in my head.”
As a history major at Michigan, Hyman said he is fine-tuning his writing skills while enhancing his game on the ice for the Wolverines. Being a published author has its benefits and Hyman said he has no plans to stop writing but his focus now is on taking his hockey skills to the next level.
“Right now, I want to be a hockey player,” he said. “I want play in the NHL.”
While Hyman still has a handful of games left in his senior season, he will get a chance to display his talents on an NHL ice surface as the Wolverines take on Michigan State on Friday at Joe Louis Arena. The Toronto, Ont., native scored the game-winning goal in the GLI championship against the Spartans the last time the two teams met at The Joe.
No. 13 MICHIGAN (7-1-0, 15-7-0)
OVERVIEW: With a 6-0 win over Wisconsin on Saturday, the Wolverines have won a season-best seven games in a row, the program’s longest winning streak since 2011. It is also the longest active win streak in the country as Michigan has scored 30 goals in the last 4 games. Having eight different players record multi-point games propelled Michigan to a weekend sweep of the Badgers in Wisconsin, something the team hadn’t done since Dec. 12-13, 1975. Offensive production is off the charts for the maize and blue but if this team is to have success down the stretch, they will need improvement in net. Steve Racine appeared to earn the job in net after strong performances in the GLI but has since been chased out early in his last three starts giving up 12 goals and a bleak 0.793 save percentage.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Trailing only Zach Hyman in the standings, freshman standout Dylan Larkin is second in the conference with 29 points in 20 games this season. A first-round draft pick of the Red Wings in 2014, Larkin will skate at Joe Louis Arena for the first time in his collegiate career. The Waterford, Mich., native is currently on a seven-game point streak, scoring two game-winning goals and assisting on a third in that stretch. Larkin’s nine power-play points leads the team and his 1.45 points per game is second all-time among Michigan freshmen.
THIS WEEKEND: vs. Michigan State, Jan. 30.
MICHIGAN STATE (3-3-2, 9-11-2)
OVERVIEW: The Spartans were the last team to contain rival Michigan before the Wolverines went on an offensive tear through the month of January. Michigan State out-shot the Wolverines in the GLI championship and held the maize and blue to less than 30 shots on goal. Coach Tom Anastos will need a similar commitment to defense for the Spartans to slow down the nation’s No. 1 offense, as a low scoring game would favor MSU. Junior goalie Jake Hildebrand is more than capable of stealing a game, having posted 30-plus save performances in four of his last six starts and coming off of his sixth career shutout in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Ohio State. Hildebrand stopped 55-of-56 shots in the two-game series and earned two wins for the Spartans.
PLAYER TO WATCH: After a six-game hiatus, senior Matt Berry returned to the lineup in a big way for the Spartans in a two-game sweep of Ohio State. Still the team’s leader with 16 points despite missing more than a month of action, Berry scored the game’s first goal on Friday and added an assist on Mackenzie MacEachern’s third period power-play goal. Berry followed up that performance with another assist on Brent Darnell’s power-play goal on Saturday. Contributing on three of Michigan State’s six goals over the weekend, Berry provides the Spartans offense a much-needed boost as the team has struggled to produce.
THIS WEEKEND: vs. Michigan, Jan. 30.
MINNESOTA (2-2-2, 11-9-2)
OVERVIEW: The Gophers fell victim to a challenging stretch in the schedule, having played a USCHO Top 20 team in five of the last eight games. With a 4-8-0 record against ranked opponents this season, Minnesota has struggled against some of the nation’s top teams. The Gophers still lay claim to the nation’s top power play with a conversion rate of 25.6 percent despite going just 2-for-21 in the last five games. Defenseman Mike Reilly(14) and forward Kyle Rau(13) — first and second in the B1G in power-play points — should have plenty of opportunities to get the special teams back on track as they face a Wisconsin PK unit that ranks last in the conference at 75.0 percent. The weekend’s games will conclude the season series between the Gophers and Badgers as Minnesota currently holds onto a 1-0-1 record.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Friday’s game against the Badgers will be goalie Adam Wilcox’s 100th for Minnesota. The junior has left his mark in the history books ranked second all-time with 10 career shutouts and fifth with 62 wins at Minnesota. Wilcox leads the B1G in wins (11) and shutouts (3) and has a career 15-5-5 record in conference play. Wilcox has gone through arguably the roughest stretch of his collegiate career with a .865 save percentage and 3.22 goals against average in his last nine starts. Going 2-4-1 in his last eight starts — pulled after giving up five goals on 17 shots against Michigan on Jan. 10 — Minnesota will need Wilcox to return to his winning ways against Wisconsin.
THIS WEEKEND: at Wisconsin, Jan. 30-31.
OHIO STATE (2-6-0, 7-13-2)
OVERVIEW: A late bye week puts the Buckeyes absent from weekend action. Hopefully Ohio State can find some scoring with the time off after being held to one goal or less in three of the last four games. Long layoffs have done the team well this season going 2-0-2 in games following an off-week and averaging 3.75 goals per game. Fifth in the standings with just two conference wins, the Buckeyes have yet to win consecutive games this season. The current four-game losing streak is the longest since Feb. 24 to Mar. 3, 2012 and the Buckeyes may have a tough time snapping it. Traveling to Minnesota next week, Ohio State hasn’t defeated the Gophers since Dec. 28, 1998 and has gone 0-8-0 since then.
PLAYER TO WATCH: With little run support, goalie Christian Frey has had to be near perfect to give his team a chance to win. In his last five starts, Frey’s posted a .918 save percentage including a 53-save performance in the Buckeyes’ 5-4 overtime win against Penn State. He has split time in net with fellow sophomore Matt Tompkins evenly as they have appeared in 12 games each. Frey has a lower goals against average and better save percentage but coach Steve Rohlik has ridden both goalies through different stretches of the season. In his last three starts, Frey has kept games close and given his team a chance to win despite the lack of scoring.
THIS WEEKEND: Off.
PENN STATE (5-2-1. 12-7-4)
OVERVIEW: The Nittany Lions will close out their non-conference schedule with an afternoon game against Vermont in the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff this Saturday. Having scored five goals in three consecutive games and reaching the four-goal plateau in five of the last six games, Penn State’s offense is soaring high. While the line of Casey Bailey, Taylor Holstrom and David Goodwin has been one of the conference’s top lines, coach Guy Gadowsky got a boost in secondary scoring over the weekend. The second forward line of Dylan Richard, Scott Conway and Eric Scheid combined for six goals and 14 points in two games against Northern Michigan. With multiple scoring lines, Penn State could compete with the likes of Michigan for first place in the B1G.
PLAYER TO WATCH: With two goals on Saturday, Eric Scheid set a personal best recording his 11th and 12th tallies of the season against Northern Michigan on Saturday. The redshirt junior is second on the team in scoring behind Casey Bailey and became the fourth different PSU forward to record a shorthanded goal this season. A transfer from Alaska-Anchorage, Scheid has recorded a point in seven of his last eight games including two three-point performances. The Nittany Lions are 10-3-4 with Scheid in the lineup this season as he adds depth to the forward lines.
THIS WEEKEND: vs. Vermont, Jan. 31.
WISCONSIN (0-5-1, 2-15-3)
OVERVIEW: For a second time in three weeks, the Badgers will take on Minnesota to conclude a four-game season series in conference action. Wisconsin led after the first period of Friday’s game against Michigan. The Badgers’ 3-1 lead was the first time this season that the team claimed a lead after the first 20 minutes. Scoring four goals against the Wolverines, the Wisconsin power play went 3-for-7 on the power play despite having a league-worst 13.0 percent conversion rate. Special teams will be the key as the Badgers search for their first conference win of the season. Going against a Minnesota penalty kill that ranks third in the Big Ten, Wisconsin could have chances to capitalize on the man advantage again this week.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Senior forward Joseph LaBate was credited with two goals and an assist for a three-point night last Friday, the third of his career. The performance marked the first time he had scored multiple goals in a single game. LaBate is Wisconsin’s active career leader with 29 goals in four seasons. The Eagan, Minn., native climbed into second on UW’s scoring chart with 11 points in 20 games and has been integral in both of the team’s wins this season. He assisted on the game-winning goal in Wisconsin’s 5-3 win over Ferris State and scored a goal in a 2-0 win over Michigan Tech.
THIS WEEKEND: vs. Minnesota, Jan. 30-31.
The Big Ten will descend on Joe Louis Arena for the first time from March 19-21 as the conference’s championship tournament will be staged in Detroit with all five games set to air live on the Big Ten Network. All-session ticket packages, which include one ticket to all five games of the tournament, start at $45, and are now on sale at the JLA box office (313-471-7575), all Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) outlets, and online at OlympiaEntertainment.com.
The top two seeds entering the tournament receive byes through the opening-round games, which will take place March 19 at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. The semifinals are scheduled for March 20 at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., with the championship game set to follow on March 21 at 8 p.m.