Georgetown native Brian Hayward has found hockey heaven in southern California and the independent sports broadcaster will have no shortage of work heading into his 15th season as a colour analyst. The 46-year-old Hayward serves as the colour man for the Anaheim Ducks, NBC's Saturday afternoon contests and on the international feed for the Stanley Cup, totaling over 100 games in 2006-07, up from 96 last year, which included the Winter Olympics in Italy. The Ducks' new owners, Henry and Susan Samueli, felt there wasn't enough TV coverage of their emerging Cupcontending team, so they bought a station in the L.A. area, meaning all 82 of their games will be broadcast and more work for Hayward. "It's a rarity in this business for someone to stay 14 years in one spot. I've spent more years broadcasting than playing in the league," said Hayward, an NHL netminder for 11 seasons, which included three Jennings trophies in the late 1980s for having the best goals-against average while sharing time with Patrick Roy of the Montreal Canadiens. "I won't say never, but it would be really hard to move away from the Anaheim situation for something else. The organization has treated me exceptionally well and the weather has kind of grown on me. I love to golf-- even though I'm not a good golfer-- and you can do it there 365 days a year." Hayward and wife Angela have a daughter, Courtney, a high school sophomore who is "a tennis player with a focus on academics," says dad. He was in Georgetown recently for a 10-day stay, overseeing operations at the Power Zone Fitness Centre, which he co-owns with brother Bruce. Hayward said that Samueli's mandate after taking over the Ducks from the Disney Corporation was to build a winning team as soon as possible, and with the recent acquisition of star defenceman Chris Pronger, along with several budding prospects such as Corey Perry, Anaheim's fans have big expectations for 2006-07. "When (GM) Brian Burke pulled off the Pronger deal, people took notice and you have to say that the Ducks are a legitimate top-six team in the league," he added. Hayward has seen first-hand how the influence of Wayne
Gretzky's playing days for the Los Angeles Kings has rubbed off, with a thriving minor hockey system in southern California. And while the National Hockey League takes a back seat to many other sports in the area, the notion of a Los Angeles kid making it to the big leagues isn't so strange anymore. "People are shocked when I tell them there are 14- and 15year-olds who are just as good as kids in Canada or anywhere else and there are so many more who are learning the game," said Hayward, who operates a youth goalie school. "Anaheim has a first-round pick, Bobby Ryan, who played for Orange County teams and looks like he's going to be something else with the Ducks. Hockey still hasn't made the impact into making it mainstream because people don't have that point of reference of having played the sport growing up."
Broadcaster and former NHL netminder Brian Hayward of Georgetown took time out for a photo with nephews Corey (left) and Cole at Hayward's All-World Hockey Camp earlier this month in Anaheim, Ca.