Yale Captain Caps Great Career With Signing
CHICAGO, IL – John Hayden got better every season of his four-year college hockey career. In fact, Yale's senior captain finished his collegiate experience Saturday night by notching his career-high 21st goal of the season. However, his 2016-17 campaign is not over because Hayden agreed to terms today with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that drafted him before he came to New Haven.
It's a two-year contract that runs through the 2017-18 season with the franchise that has won three of the last six Stanley Cup Championships.
Hayden, who played 127 college games and had 50 goals and 91 points, ranks third in ECAC Hockey and ninth in the country in goals per game, The first-team All-Ivy League pick had points in 10 of his last 14 games with four multiple-goal games this year.
His 2016-17 season will likely continue with Chicago or its AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs.
The 6-foot-3, 217-pound forward had a lot of great moments in his Yale career, the latest coming Jan. 13 when he scored the winner with 59 seconds left in the third against Clarkson. Earlier this year at RPI, he had two goals in 42 seconds to tie the game and then win it in OT.
However, the essence of his impact in college hockey was on display in one scoring sequence last season at Arizona State's Tournament. Hayden blasted a Sun Devils defenseman with the puck in the slot and sent him sliding back into the goalie, while Hayden grabbed the puck and flicked it top shelf.
"I couldn't have asked for a better four years at Yale. My family and friends have been beyond supportive, and I owe my teammates, Keith [Allain] and the rest of the staff all the credit," said Hayden. "Yale is a special place, and I was fortunate to be a part of the culture. Proud to be a Bulldog."
Hayden gets much of his inspiration from the memory of former HoneyBaked (AAA Club) teammate, the late Ian Jenkins, a goalie whose motto was "Have a Purpose" (HAP). Hayden has organized some fundraising events to raise money for the Big "E" Have a Purpose Foundation.
The Greenwich, Conn., native, a third round (74th overall) NHL draft pick by Chicago in 2013, had a HAP 35 logo on his stick and wore a sticker on his helmet when he was with the U.S. National Development Program.
Hayden has plenty of Team USA experience, including winning a silver medal at the 2013 IIHF U-18 World Championships in Sochi, Russia, and serving as alternate captain for the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team at the IIHF World Junior Championships.
Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director