Born in Chicago but raised in Colorado, NHL right wing John Hayden came full circle after finishing his senior season at Yale and graduating in 2017 after which he joined the Chicago Blackhawks who drafted him in 2013. Before his recent trade to the New Jersey Devils, we met up in John in the Windy City and talked hockey and life. Here’s what you need to know.
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How did you first become interested in hockey? Who gave you your first pair of skates?
My mom got me my first pair of skates. When I was growing up in Colorado, the Avalanche and the University of Denver were having a lot of success and it made sense for me to play hockey at that time. I played many sports growing up but hockey eventually became my favorite.
If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?
I have a lot of teammates from Europe so it would be cool to visit their hometowns and see where they grew up. We spend a lot of time around the US and Canada for travel and we don’t get a chance to see their part of the world. My friend Nick and I have a list of golf courses we want to visit too.
Who taught you what it meant to be a man?
My dad. My dad is hardworking, capable and has shown me the meaning of character. There are certain things I see in his work ethic and in what he does for our family that I try to emulate. I also owe credit to many of my coaches who, along the way, have instilled in me certain intangibles that are important on and off the ice.
Favorite workout song?
Stranger by Leu Leu Land
Mighty Ducks 1, 2, or 3?
I’d say Mighty Ducks 1 but I was never obsessed with those movies. There’s an HBO behind the scenes series called 24/7. As a youth player, it’s the closest you get to seeing an NHL locker room and the dynamics within. That show inspired me to make it to the highest level.
What is something you are extremely proud of?
I’m proud of my sister, Catherine, for winning the field hockey D1 National Championship playing for UNC-Chapel Hill this year. They had an impressive undefeated season and Catherine played a major role.
Who is/was your hockey inspiration?
I’ve had a lot of role models over the years. I have come to appreciate the step by step journey of getting to where I am now, and it inspires me to keep going. I wasn’t always focused on playing in the NHL. I was more focused on playing for Team USA in high school. Then was my goal was to play for Yale. While playing at Yale, the NHL was a realistic goal. Now I want to improve every year as an NHL player.
Who is someone who routinely makes your life better?
Mom. She’s my rock. She does everything for me.
What takes up too much of your time?
Golf. I squeeze it in whenever I can but mostly in the offseason.
Best part about being a hockey player:
My teammates and the travel.
Favorite childhood book?
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Before a game you always: