Aaron Hyman is tall.
The type of tall you’d expect to be shooting three-pointers or catching footballs, not shoring up the Regina Pats blue line.
But the six-foot-five-inch tall Calgary native fell in love with hockey.
“The fast pace, it was unlike anything I’d seen before,” Hyman said. “I played a lot of basketball growing up as well and just something about hockey drew me in right away.”
Hyman’s hockey education started out like lots of Canadian kids with pick up games of street hockey.
“I would just come home and there’d be kids on my block playing … I decided to go out and watch one day and they let me play with them. It just grew from there.”
Not long after, Hyman’s parents were enrolling him in club hockey and skating lessons.
They didn’t know much about it – Hyman’s dad was a sprinter who grew up in Jamaica, his mom played tennis – but they jumped into hockey head first with him, travelling from Calgary as frequently as they could to see him play.
But for the start of his WHL career, they didn’t have to travel at all.
Hyman got his start with his hometown club playing his first three years with the Calgary Hitmen. It wasn’t until after he finished high school that he was traded to the Seattle Thunderbirds and by then, he was ready to see more of the world.
“I think I was at the age where I was ready to uproot and try something new,” he explained. “I was (home) for the big years. I was there for high school and got to stay home and graduate with all my buddies. That was really what I wanted to do.”
“It was a pretty big honour playing for your hometown team growing up. (Former Hitmen and current Anaheim Duck captain) Ryan Getzlaf was a big guy I looked up to and the city was kind of buzzing about that guy all the time,” Hyman said.
Hyman went straight to a championship calibre team in Seattle and ended up playing the Pats in the 2017 WHL final, beating them in game six to go off to the Memorial Cup.
Needless to say it was a bit weird for the 19-year-old to find out he had been traded to Regina at this year’s trade deadline.
“It was a little different battling with all the guys in the playoffs that are here now. It’s kind of funny to walk in and see their faces and everything after trying to take their heads off in the playoffs,” he laughed.
But he was made to feel right at home from the start.
Pats head coach John Paddock picked Hyman up from the airport, something Hyman really appreciated.
“(I’m) picking up my bags and standing there is John Paddock. It was a pretty cool experience, not many times a coach will come pick up a new player,” Hyman said.
“It says a lot about the type of guy he is, type of coach he is.”
And now he’s ready to try for the championship all over again, this time with the Pats instead of against them. As Memorial Cup hosts, Regina has an automatic spot in the championship.
“I’m very excited for that. That was one of the big things that crossed my mind when I found out I was traded here,” Hyman said. “We didn’t have the greatest outing last year in the Memorial Cup with Seattle. (I’m) looking for a little redemption.”
Redemption for Hyman includes getting to the championship the right way, and not depending on their reserved spot.
“We want to take the front door in, we don’t want to come in through the back door. We want to earn our way there through the playoffs and to win a championship.”
Step one starts Friday against Swift Current.