Monday, January 21st, 2019

Students of USM

Posted on March 22, 2016 in Community
By USM Free Press

Meaghan Gonsior

By Meaghan Gonsior

Born and raised in the mountainous region of western Montana, Blue Hayler fell in love with the ice when he was in the first grade. He learned to skate on a frozen river nearby his family’s rural cabin. Shortly after he joined a youth hockey team in Missoula, his parents and brother became hooked on the sport as well.

A successful high school career for Hayler included three state championship titles, leading his hockey team as Captain, receiving Missoula’s highest academic award—the Eagle Gold Medallion, and earning All-State in both soccer and lacrosse. After high school, Hayler spent two years playing hockey on the East coast for the Richmond Generals in the U.S. Premier Hockey League.

“It was a blast, one of the best times of my life. I got to play hockey and didn’t have to worry about school.” It was in Virginia that USM’s coach Edward Harding recruited Hayler as a forward/wing, based on his strength and speed. Harding also looks for “hockey sense and competitiveness” in his players.

When he’s not on the ice or playing other team sports, Hayler enjoys being active outdoors, backpacking and mountain biking—avoiding spiders whenever possible. According to Hayler, Portland is somewhat similar to his hometown of Missoula, which he describes as “a laidback college town, where most people know everyone else.”

After moving to Maine last fall, Hayler discovered that his expectations of Vacationland were slightly off. “I was expecting everyone to have these crazy accents, but they just don’t. It was kind of a let down, actually,” Hayler laughed. He isn’t the first person is his family to attend college in Maine. As a student at the University of Montana, his mother spent a semester away studying at USM in Portland.

If Hayler’s life had a theme song, he’d pick “Hotel California, because it’s awesome,” and his favorite read is Robin Hood.

According to Hayler, one of the best parts of being on a collegiate team is the camaraderie forged, through both wins and losses together.

“All the guys on the team are good guys, automatic friends. You get instantly molded into the system…We didn’t have the best season this year… It’s a good conference; all the teams can beat each other,” Hayler said, remaining positive that the Huskies will have a better run next year.



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