Greenwich’s Hayden drafted by Stanley Cup champs Chicago Blackhawks in NHL draft

Wherever there are winning ice hockey programs, Greenwich native John Hayden seems to find them.

After playing two years with the highly-successful Brunswick School ice hockey program and then with the United States National Team Developmental Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., Hayden was recruited by defending NCAA Division I national champions Yale University for college hockey.

Now, Hayden can add another team to his belt, as the Greenwich standout was drafted by the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in this year’s National Hockey League draft back on June 30.

“It was an unbelievable feeling,” Hayden said. “It showed that all work that I did in Ann Arbor paid off. It was a great experience for me and my family.”

Hayden was picked up by the Blackhawks as the 74th overall selection during the draft, which was held at New Jersey’s Prudential Center, and they were able to grab the pick by aquiring it from the Winnipeg Jets for Michael Frolik.

“I’m a gritty, two-way forward and I’m responsible in all the zones,” Hayden said. “I think that I can bring a lot of skill to the table for the Hawks.”

During the NHL season, Hayden was in contact with the Blackhawks and had a great meeting with the organization during the NHL combine, which was held in Toronto, Canada.

“Going into the draft, I knew that the Blackhawks were a possibility,” Hayden said. “I was sitting with my family in the Prudential Center. When I heard the Hawks call my name, it was an amazing feeling and I’m glad I got to share it with my family.”

While dreams of one day hoisting the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks float through Hayden’s mind, he needs to focus on competing with Yale University starting in the fall.

“I’m really looking forward to playing hockey for Yale,” Hayden said. “I know it’s going to be competitive because I’m going to a team that has a lot of success. It’s going to be a great feeling and I can’t wait to start playing for them.”

Hayden noted that he wants to work on his overall skating and adding some extra quickness to his game.

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