Aaron Hyman, who is a native of Calgary, Alberta, was acquired by the Thunderbirds from the Calgary Hitmen in December of 2016. He tallied one goal and seven assists for eight total points in 39 games for the Thunderbirds. He played in all 2017 playoff games for the T-Birds on their way to the WHL Championship and netted one goal and six assists for seven total points. He sat down with us to talk about his offseason and what to expect for the upcoming season.
Seattle Thunderbirds: Thank you for joining us today, Aaron. How has your summer been going so far?
Aaron Hyman: It’s been great! I’ve really enjoyed my time being back in Calgary this summer catching up with close friends and family. At the same time, I’m looking forward to coming back to Seattle.
ST: First off, congratulations on being a part of the franchise’s first WHL Championship winning team. How does that feel winning it all?
AH: It’s a very rewarding feeling knowing that all the hard work and discipline that our group put in throughout the year has paid off. It was not an easy task to achieve to say the least but I think everyone is proud of what we accomplished.
ST: During Game 6 of the WHL Championship, the team was down a defenseman halfway through the game. What was the defensive corps mentality being a man down in such a pivotal game?
AH: Losing Turner at any point in a game is a big loss but I think our overall mentality, as a group, was that everyone needed to contribute a little more each shift and be that much more focused and dialed in. It’s something we’ve experienced many times leading up to that moment. With injuries and being down guys for a good amount of the season, I think we knew what to expect from each other. We all had a sense of what needed to be done.
ST: What was the overall experience like of playing in the Memorial Cup?
AH: It was a childhood dream of mine to play in the Memorial Cup. It’s cool because a lot of the talent within the NHL have played in the tournament so I felt very humbled to be a part of with what I think was the best group of guys I’ve ever played with.
ST: You and Austin Strand are both from Calgary. Did you two play together or against each other in minor hockey growing up?
AH: Yes, we played against each other many times when he was in Red Deer. Prior to that we worked out together at the same gym at Winsport in Calgary.
ST: You were traded from the Calgary Hitmen to the T-Birds in December of 2016. What has been the biggest change that you have had to get used to?
AH: Obviously I was a little shocked but also excited to have a fresh start in Seattle. I couldn’t have asked to be traded to a better organization or city than Seattle. I was very fortunate for that to have happened.
ST: Have you noticed a difference between hockey fans in Canada and the United States?
AH: I find fans in the states are a lot more rowdy and into the game than fans in Canada for sure. That just makes it that much more fun when you know the fans are encouraging you and expect a certain level of success each and every year. They have been great.
ST: What kind of training are you doing in the off-season to prepare for the 2017-18 season?
AH: I’m doing more plyometric training to improve my foot speed and skating. It’s been a lot of track work but also strength training as well. Just trying to get more explosive.
ST: What are you most looking forward to in this coming season?
AH: Getting back to work with all the boys again and getting better each day. I’m really looking forward to this season. I think we have a good group this year.
ST: Is there any one NHL player that you model your style of play after?
AH: I really admire how Marc-Edourd Vlasic plays the game. He shuts down the other team’s top guys but every now and then jumps into the rush to create offense. He’s consistent night in and night out.
ST: What can fans expect from you out on the ice this upcoming season?
AH: Continuing to be steady and consistent defenseman. Contributing at both ends of the ice.
ST: That is all the time that we have. Thanks for chatting with us, Aaron!
AH: Awesome, thank you very much!
Seattle Thunderbirds Media & Public Relations Intern Bryn Metzger conducted the Q&A questions for Aaron Hyman. The team will be posting Q&A’s during the offseason with returning T-Birds players.