While there has not been a game down at Ingalls Rink since March, seven skaters from the Yale men’s hockey team kept their blades sharp, skating for other teams during the summer months.
During the NHL offseason, each team opens its doors in order to evaluate its draft picks and prospects. The largest contingent of Bulldogs ended up at the Chicago Blackhawks’ development camp. Sophomore classmates forward John Hayden ’17, a third-round draft pick of the Blackhawks, and goaltender Alex Lyon ’17, as well as junior defender Ryan Obuchowski ’16 and incoming freshman Ryan Hitchcock ’18 all impressed during the five-day camp. Hayden in particular shined, finding the net three times in three games. The winger had 16 points in 33 games for Yale last season.
“Seeing three Yale guys out there is a testament to the program at Yale and how we are developing top-level talent,” Obuchowski said. “It really speaks for the job that Keith Allain ’80 and his coaching staff have been doing.”
Obuchowski also suited up for his hometown team, the Detroit Red Wings, shortly after his time with the Blackhawks.
On the East Coast, Yale defender Rob O’Gara ’16, a fifth-round draft pick of the Bruins, and Boston native forward Mike Doherty ’17, participated in the Boston Bruins’ development camp.
“The biggest part about [the Bruins’ camp] was just creating relationships with the guys in the organization and learning what they like and what it takes to become a pro,” Doherty said. “Playing against great players, you can get a good idea of what you need to improve on heading into the college seasons.”
Elsewhere, newly elected captain and defender Tommy Fallen ’15 along with forward Matt Beattie ’16, a seventh-round draft pick, took to the ice for the Vancouver Canucks in July.
Hayden and Hitchock continued to get acquainted later in the summer at the Team USA camps, where prospects vied for spots on the Junior National Team. Hitchcock is familiar with the USA system, having played in the United States Hockey League with the U.S. National Team Development Program. The rookie skated in three games while Hayden played in six games, registering four goals and an assist.
“You learn how to be a pro and what it takes to be a pro at the camps and what the life is like,” Obuchowski said. “When you practice every day against top-level talent, you improve your game. I know both mine and my teammates’ experiences this summer will help the team as a whole.”
The men’s hockey team starts its season on Oct. 24.