Gavin Hayes – Flint Firebirds – Player Profile

HTWTDOBPOSSHOOTSOHL DRAFTNHLCSCOUNTRY
6’1”1775-14-04RWR16th 202068 NAUSA
SEASONLEAGUETEAMGPGAPTS
2019-20HPHL U-15Compuware U-1514131124
2020-21U-16 AAAHoneybaked U-16147512
2021-22OHLFlint Firebirds59192645

Selected with the 16th overall selection at the 2020 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection and ranked 68th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting on their mod-term rankings is Flint Firebirds right winger Gavin Hayes.

Gavin Hayes of the Flint Firebirds. Photo by Natalie Shaver/OHL Images

Hayes began the season as someone who could climb up draft rankings because his game was trending in the right direction. He was getting some good looks on the Flint powerplay and some key responsibilities on the penalty kill. He was being projected as a solid 200-foot player who could put up some offence and his development as a 200-foot player was ahead of schedule.

The Firebirds got a couple of players back part way through the season, including one they probably weren’t expecting back in Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks) who was reassigned by the Abbotsford Canucks back in January. That reduced Hayes’ ice time and responsibilities yet, he has still managed to put up 19 goals and 26 helpers in 59 games to date.

Hayes is a good skater with decent top end speed who likes the north-south game. He uses his speed and size effectively as he can get in on the forecheck and is not shy about getting physical when on top of the oppositions defence. That’s great for a power forward in the making, but if the game moves east-west, he seems to get lost in that.

Hayes is also not shy about driving to the net and making himself the body to take away a goaltender’s vision. He is usually the first to go battle along the walls and despite needing to add some bulk and get stronger, wins his share of those battles.

Hayes has a good shot, but needs to find his consistency in getting into open lanes so his teammates can feed him a pass. He’s is good in transition and gaining the zone, but he’s not the driver in those situations but more the beneficiary of his teammate’s abilities. And that’s not a bad thing because a line can not be made up of 3 drivers.

Defensively, Hayes is ahead of the curve in understanding positioning – knows where to be and his responsibilities and uses his stick actively to disrupt plays and passing lanes. He could use some work on when to come back and help his defencemen a little more, but it’s been a work in progress and showing improvement.

It’s hard to say how NHL scouts will judge Hayes. Will it be on the early part of the season? Will it be more of what have you done lately for me? He’s actually been pretty good offensively since mid March. And then they’ll have to decide what he projects to be at the NHL level. Personally, I see him as a third liner at best who can give you a solid defensive performance while contributing some offence.

A lot will depend on his playoff performance.

OHL ANNOUNCES ACADEMIC PLAYERS OF THE MONTH FOR NOVEMBER

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Lawson Sherk of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Hunter Haight of the Barrie Colts, Connor Lockhart of the Erie Otters and Gavin Hayes of the Flint Firebirds have been named the OHL Academic Players of the Month for November.

Though the puck has yet to drop on the 2020-21 OHL Regular Season, players are striving for excellence in the classroom through their studies. The League continues to work with government and public health agencies to prepare a safe return to play with a targeted Regular Season start date of Thursday, February 4, 2021. Academic players of the month are listed in correspondence with their 2019-20 divisions. Details concerning the structure of 2020-21 team alignment will be made available upon release of the OHL Regular Season schedule.

Here’s a closer look at the OHL’s Academic Players of the Month for November:

East Division: Lawson Sherk of the Hamilton Bulldogs is being recognized as November’s East Division Academic Player of the Month. He achieved 100% in Grade 12 University Level Advanced Functions; one of few Ancaster High School students to have ever achieved the perfect grade. Sherk also scored the top mark in Grade 12 University Level Physics with 94% and earned a 93% in his Personal Life Management course.

Sherk’s teachers and coaches regularly compliment his work ethic, positive attitude and kindness and point out his perseverance and teamwork both in the classroom and on the ice. He is known around school as a mentor and a leader.

The 17-year-old Halton Hills, Ont. native put up 15 points (5-10—15) over 62 games in his rookie season with the Bulldogs. He was selected 40th overall by Hamilton in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection after a 50-point season (15-35—50) with the OMHA’s Halton Hurricanes.

Central Division: Barrie’s Hunter Haight is November’s Central Division Academic Player of the Month. Over his first term at Blyth Academy, he put up an impressive 98% in Grade 11 University Level Physics and 95% in Grade 12 Community Technology. Out of the 19 courses Haight has completed so far, he has yet to receive a grade lower than 90%.

Haight is described by his teachers as extremely focused and as someone who “continuously puts forth his best efforts both on and off the ice.” He was also recently recognized with the Emerging Leaders Award on account of his outstanding personal leadership, positive impact and contributions within the community.

The 9th overall 2020 OHL Priority Selection pick led the ALLIANCE U16 ranks with 32 goals last season and led his Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs to a league championship. Haight finished the 2019-20 season with 58 points (32-26—58) in 33 appearances and put up 26 points (11-15—26) in the playoffs.

Midwest Division: Connor Lockhart of the Erie Otters has been named the Midwest Division’s Academic Player of the Month for November after undertaking a full courseload that included Grade 11 Academic Math, Grade 12 Athletic Leadership, Grade 11 English, Grade 12 Nutrition and Grade 12 Personal Life Management.

Lockhart has been praised for fulfilling his course responsibilities at John McRae Secondary School and Blyth Academy before the start of the season so that he will have more time in his schedule for increased demands during his draft year. His ability to adapt to new ways of learning, time management, self-motivation and prioritization during this difficult time have also been praised, as well as his decision to front load his schedule to maximize his free time while maintaining his workouts and pre-season preparation.

The 17-year-old forward amassed 27 points (9-18—27) over 57 contests in his rookie campaign with the Otters following a 79-point (30-49—79) production with the Kanata Lasers U18 in 2018-19.

West Division: Flint Firebirds rookie Gavin Hayes is the West Division’s Academic Player of the Month for November. Hayes earned an 88% in U.S. History, 84% in Grade 11 English and 83% in Algebra II at SOAR Academic Institute.

Drafted 16th overall by the Firebirds in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, Hayes led the High-Performance Hockey League in goals (16) and points (33) over 21 appearances with the Detroit Compuware U15 AAA squad.

2020-21 OHL Academic Players of the Month:

Players listed in correspondence with 2019-20 divisions. Details concerning the structure of 2020-21 team alignment will be made available upon release of the OHL Regular Season schedule.

East Division:
November – Lawson Sherk (Hamilton Bulldogs)

Central Division:
November – Hunter Haight (Barrie Colts)

Midwest Division:
November – Connor Lockhart (Erie Otters)

West Division:
November – Gavin Hayes (Flint Firebirds)

A total of 334 graduates utilized their OHL Scholarship at post-secondary institutions across North America during the 2019-20 academic year, with a total contribution by teams of over $3 million.  Over the past 10 seasons, OHL Scholarship payments have totalled more than $25 million.

Click here for more information about ‘OHL Players First’ programs.

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPO­­­RTS than any other league.