As stories go, Zach Hyman’s seems an unlikely one. An NHL player with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, Hyman set a team record for short-handed goals by a rookie in his first season. He’s also a best-selling children’s author, with three books to his name.
For Hyman, however, it isn’t so farfetched. After all, he comes from a family where hockey-playing and yarn-spinning went hand in hand.
“I think I get my storytelling genes from my grandfather,” says the affable 27-year-old. “He would always be telling stories to me and my brothers about his life, some real – and some fake,” he adds, laughing. Indeed, his grandfather was the inspiration for Hyman’s latest book, The Magician’s Secret. It’s the story of an elderly magician who beguiles his young grandson with a mix of prestidigitation and fabulous tall tales.
As the oldest of five boys, Hyman, in turn, would read or make up stories to entertain his younger siblings, Spencer, Oliver, Cooper and Shane. At their family home in Toronto, books jostled for attention with hockey equipment. Parents Stuart (who owns the junior-league Markham Royals) and Vicky encouraged their sons to spend their down time in the land of kids’ lit.