Thursday, October 21, 2010

USHL Alumni Voices: Jimmy Hayes

Photo Credit:  Robert J. Meyer
Thanks to the blog reader who brought this article to my attention.  This is a great piece posted today on the USHL official website about former Lincoln Stars forward Jimmy Hayes.  Click here to read the article. Hayes, who is currently playing for Boston College University, had his NHL rights recently traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Chicago Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup Champions.  Here are a few excerpts from the article:

"I almost begged Jimmy Hayes to go to there," Cohen said. "I was literally on the phone with him every day, telling him, 'You're crazy if you don't go to Lincoln, you have to go to Lincoln."  This week, Hayes gave his own side of the story.

"[Colby] told me what a great experience it was for him, and worked really hard to convince me. He told me what a great coach Jim McGroarty was, and he showed me those YouTube clips of that crazy crowd."

"He told me I just had to see it for myself."

What was involved in your decision to join the USHL – besides some friendly advice from Colby Cohen?
"It was a big year for me, and I just felt I needed a change. My brother and I both committed to BC pretty young, so I knew I was coming here when I was a sophomore in high school. I could have stayed in prep school and still made it here, but I just felt like I needed to go do something else with hockey, and get bigger and stronger. I didn't know very much about the USHL going in, so when I showed up at Lincoln, I wasn't expecting the crowds and the type of atmosphere they had there. It's unbelievable – probably one of the best atmospheres to play hockey in."
What was so special about the atmosphere in Lincoln?

"I didn't play in many of the Eastern Conference teams' arenas, but I know that the Western Conference had the most unbelievable fans. Attendance-wise, it proves that these people are die-hard fans, and they stay loyal to the team even when they're struggling. It's just an unbelievable place – a great arena that gets really loud and really fun to play in."

Was the transition difficult, moving from Dorchester, MA to Lincoln, NE? 
"It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The city of Lincoln is actually a really happening place. The university is right there, the football team's there – it's a pretty outgoing city and I had a blast. Some of the best memories I have are from my days in Lincoln."

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