From Tanenbaum CHAT to the National Hockey League

Published: August 3rd 2010
in News » Local

Zach Hyman

As the school enters its 50th year, Tanenbaum CHAT certainly has plenty to celebrate. After a half century of growing and developing Jewish teenagers into young professional adults, CHAT has a new success story to boast- this one in the sports world.  On June 26, the Florida Panthers chose CHAT grad Zach Hyman with their fifth-round selection at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles, California.


“I’m very excited and honoured to be drafted,” said Hyman in a conversation with Shalom Life. “It’s a huge honour, and especially being a graduate from CHAT, it doesn’t happen that often, so it’s great.” Hyman, 18, had only graduated from high school a few weeks prior to the draft. “I couldn’t be happier being drafted by the Panthers. It’s a great city, great place. It’s amazing.”


The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder always had his eye on the NHL. He started both skating and playing hockey around the young age of four, and knew he had found his passion. “Right when I started, when I was little I knew, and I still do now.” As he grew older, Hyman excelled for the Triple ‘A’ Toronto Red Wings, and eventually the Junior ‘A’ Hamilton Red Wings, where he is now the team’s captain.


This past season, Hyman scored 35 goals and 40 assists in 49 games for the Red Wings, at the same time that he was dealing with the gruelling eight-hour, double curriculum schedule of CHAT. “I had long days because the drive to Hamilton is 45 minutes to an hour. The CHAT days are pretty long. You have a lot of work, but I had three spares this year, so I did a lot of the work in my spares and on the way to Hamilton.”


By the end of the year, not only did Hyman’s NHL dreams come true, but he had managed to achieve an overall academic average of over 90 per cent. The humble person that he is, Hyman gives credit to his educators. “If I ever needed help or if I was really jammed one week, my teachers were always helpful. They were very supportive. If I ever needed an extension I could talk to them beforehand and it was a great environment. It’s very helpful. You’re not by yourself there, everyone’s helping you out.”


Others would have changed schools to accommodate the challenge of making the NHL, but not Hyman. For him, the 90 per cent average had to be obtained at CHAT, and nowhere else. “Jewish education is very important to me. I went to USDS (United Synagogue Day School, now called Robbins Hebrew Academy) before and I wasn’t just going to throw away the Jewish education just because it got a little tough. I got through all of it. I never really had that much trouble.”


“I did really well in my Hebrew courses. Nothing held me back, so I didn’t really need to switch to public school. It was worth it to get the Jewish education and to be in that kind of community where everybody’s so helpful and supportive.”


Staying at CHAT was so important to Hyman, that it affected his decision to forego playing in the Ontario Hockey League of the CHL, a powerhouse for junior hockey development. Had Hyman played in the OHL, he feels he might have been drafted even higher in the NHL draft, but it would not have been worth it. “I wanted my education also. If you go to the OHL, you only have your hockey. I always wanted to go to an Ivey league school in the United States. That’s why I chose that rather than just playing hockey. I can play hockey and go to a great school.”


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