Who Are You? Zach Hyman Edition

Photo credit:Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 year ago
Welcome to another edition of Who Are You? Today’s guest is Zach Hyman.
It is a Q and A where we discuss non-hockey interests. There might be one or two hockey questions, but the rest will be about other aspects of their life.
Jason Gregor: What made you want to write children’s books?
Zach Hyman: Just got a passion for writing. I grew up an avid reader and the oldest of five boys, so reading books was a part of my routine, I guess. And I obviously just loved writing, the creative writing aspect. I just loved it.
Gregor: Oldest of five boys, how much peace maker were you or how much antagonist were you growing up?
Hyman: (Laughs) Both, but I definitely like to stir the pot. I was the one bugging all of the little ones, but whenever there was an issue, I was the peacemaker also.
Gregor: Growing up what were your go to books to read?
Hyman: I loved the Harry Potter books. That series was one of my favourites. I remember my grandmother got me the books for one of my birthdays and I just loved them. And then the movies came out and I went to see the movies and all that. That was right in the prime teenage years.
Gregor: And now, what books does Zach Hyman like to read?
Hyman: Oh man! I like reading fantasy fiction, takes your mind off of your life in general. Read the Game of Thrones books, all of those, really enjoyed them. If anyone has any recommendations, I’m always open.
Gregor: If you were going to write a book about an Oiler teammate, who would you write about and why?
Hyman: Oof. An Oiler teammate, that’s a tough one. I think I will go with Leon [Draisaitl]. Big tough German, unique style of play, obviously one of the best players of our generation. Just a fun guy, he’s a character and obliviously not the most conventional path (to the NHL), so I would definitely write something about his hockey journey. It would be fun.
Gregor: Outside of being a hockey player and a writer, you also own a couple of gaming companies. How much of a gamer were you growing up?
Hyman: I was a huge gamer. That was one of the things my brothers and I used to do, and still do. All different variety from sports games to first person shooter, just adventure games. So it was just weaved into my childhood.
Gregor: What game do you play now?
Hyman: Right now the hot game is, we actually play Nintendo Switch on the plane, that’s what we do. We were playing Mario Party for a bit and now we moved to Mario Kart, so that’s full circle from my childhood.
Gregor: If you had to rank yourself in those two games, where are you and who is at the top?
Hyman: Well, let’s go back. Mario Party, I am by far and away number one. Mario Kart, so the problem with Mario Kart is that the guys played it the entire COVID year, so they have hundreds of hours logged and I just started playing the new one. So, I am near the bottom. We play Formula One style, so me and Shoresey [Devin Shore] are like Haas and Williams. And Nuge [Ryan Nugent-Hopkins], he’s Red Bull and Connor [McDavid] is next. (To McDavid, who overhead the comment, and made a comment of his own): You’re Ferrari, you like that? And then Yamo [Kailer Yamamoto] is in third, and we have a whole bunch in like the four, five, six, seven.
Gregor: I know guys are naturally competitive, who is the controller tosser?
Hyman: Oh it’s very, very, very competitive (laughs). There are a lot of controller tossers. It depends on the race honestly.
Gregor: In Mario Kart you can attack and go after players. Are there certain guys you will go after because they will get rattled?
Hyman: No, these guys are elite. They can get out in the front and then they hold protection. It’s not like a regular Mario Kart, they’re high end players, so it’s hard to get anybody.
Apr 5, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Zach Hyman (18) celebrates his empty net goal scored against the Anaheim Ducks with center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) during the third period at Honda Center. Nugent-Hopkins provided an assist on the goal. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gregor: Do you watch F1?
Hyman: Yeah, I watch the show [Drive to Survive]. I haven’t watched the season (of actual racing). I don’t casually watch it because it’s hard with the time change and what not, but the show is great.
Gregor: Do you have a team or a driver you like?
Hyman: Not necessarily, I just enjoy the competition of it. The characters develop really well. You’re watching a TV show, but it’s almost like real life. It is real life, but they dramatize it and make it like a TV show. I don’t have a favourite.
Gregor: Would you like to see an NHL version of Drive to Survive? Could it work?
Hyman: I don’t think it could work, no. It would be great, but I don’t think that it could work. F1, it’s more, they’re much more open with the sport obviously, and the individuals and it’s not as closed off as the NHL where everyone is trying to keep their secrets to their chest and are on eggshells towards the media and what not. In F1 they don’t really care. They don’t care what the media thinks, what other people think, they just do their thing, and it’s a different sport.
Gregor: Do you think that there is something that the NHL could learn from that? Players always tell me that there are only so many systems, so are there really that many secrets to withhold?
Hyman: Yeah, I don’t know to be honest. I think that it’s just a comfort thing. Those guys are comfortable expressing themselves. We’ve done things in the past, there have been Amazon shows. The Leafs tried doing the Amazon show and it wasn’t a success obviously. So hockey has tried but it hasn’t done it successfully yet.
Gregor: If you got to host a fun, quasi, Between Two Ferns Type of show, who would you want as teammates as your first two guests?
Hyman: I don’t know, we talked about Leon with the book, he’s an interesting character, and then probably throw Evander [Kane] up he’s got some fun stories, I’m sure.
Gregor: For the warmup, how do you guys decide where you slot in when coming onto the ice? How does a new guy slot in like you last season?
Hyman: I don’t remember to be honest, you just kind of go and then that’s it. You try not to take somebody else’s spot who’s on the team and then you’re on the team and then you find your spot and then, that’s your spot.
Gregor: If you could have a goal song, like they have in baseball, and there is a goal scored, what would your goal song be?
Hyman: I would let Theo (his oldest son) choose it, so it would have been “Baby Shark” last year, but I think that we’re on to Cocomelon or Little Baby Bum or something like that.
Gregor: Favourite part of becoming a dad.
Hyman: Just watching them learn and grow and every day they say something new or something unique. Every day they surprise you. Theo is now fully talking, and every day he’s surprising me with something like how did you know to say that, where did that come from? And that interaction, the ‘I love yous’ the ‘Dad I want to go to hockey.’ Just him growing and watching him grow and his personality. And obviously with Bennett, just watching him change every day, he’s still really young, but just watching him grow and become almost little versions of yourself. It’s pretty fun.
Gregor: Being a father, does it make road trips harder?
Hyman: Yeah, it’s tough to leave. Obviously it’s a part of the job, but it makes the time that you spend even better.
Gregor: If you’re cooking dinner, what is your favourite go to dinner to make?
Hyman: Probably a nice arugula salad and then salmon. I like cooking salmon, so bake some salmon and maybe a Cajun spice. And then some sweet potatoes on the side, or pasta if I’m feeling good about it. Maybe some asparagus, something green on the side.
Gregor: Do you have a sweet tooth and if so, what is your go to?
Hyman: Yeah, I think that everyone has a sweet tooth. I like lots of options. I like an ice cream or a sorbet, something sweet after.
Gregor: Your favourite sports team, NHL excluded.
Hyman: Buffalo Bills.
Gregor: Why?
Hyman: NFL is my favourite sport by far. It’s just the way that it all operates. Growing up in Toronto, Buffalo was always the team that we would go and see, just cross the border and go see them. So me, and my brothers became big, big Bills fans.
Gregor: When you retire, would you slam through a table?
Hyman: Yeah, for sure.
Gregor: Thanks for joining us in Who Are You?
Hyman: Thanks for having me, Jason.


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