Get to Know U19 National Team Receiver Zach Hynna
Zach Hynna is a wide receiver from Ottawa, Ontario who will represent Canada at the 2018 International Bowl in Arlington, Texas next month as a member of the National Under-19 team.
The offensive standout began playing the sport when he was five years old.
“My parents wanted to find a sport that stuck with me so I tried out baseball, I tried out cross country, track and field,” he recounted. “Then, my father heard of the Thunder Bay Minor Football League and he figured, “Why not? Let’s give it a shot.” and I want to say my first season, it didn’t go that well.”
“My dad always encourages me not to give up on things after trying it once. I did my second season and from then on, it never got away from me.”
Among the teams Hynna has suited up for include Team Manitoba and Hammarskjold Vikings of the North Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association (NWOSSAA). Currently, the receiver plays for the Ontario Universities Athletics’ (OUA) Ottawa Gee-Gees.
During his time with Team Manitoba, the offensive standout experienced the highlight of his career competing at the 2016 Football Canada Cup in Winnipeg.
“It was probably the best football I ever played,” he recalled. “To see the level of competition from all over Canada because being from Thunder Bay, we don’t get exposed to other provinces really besides Manitoba.”
“Being there, I had a really great tournament. It allowed me to move on the next level. It was the best experience in football I ever had.”
As for role models, Hynna looks up to his father.
“He’s always been a stable part of my life, encouraging me to do whatever I want in life especially in football,’ he said. “He always had my best interests in mind and never pressured me to do anything I didn’t want to.”
“He basically encouraged me to follow what I wanted to do.”
In addition to his father, his former high school coach Mike Judge was “beyond supportive” throughout his gridiron career.
“He would go so far out of his way to enable me to make the next level of football,” Hynna added. “He gave me the option to play certain positions that I wanted to depending what kind of film I needed to produce to send to universities.”
The 2018 International Bowl will mark the second time Hynna has represented Canada. Last year, he participated in the North American Championship.
“At the beginning, it was very overwhelming,” recalled the wide receiver of the experience. “To wear a Team Canada jersey, that is almost incomprehensible.”
“At the time, it didn’t even make sense. I’m wearing my country’s name and I am from Thunder Bay. The experience that I gained there, I got exposure to some of the best players in the world.”
Heading south of the border for the second consecutive year, Hynna is looking forward to once again wearing the Canadian jersey at the 2018 International Bowl.
“It is an immense honour,” he expressed. “It’s hard to describe because you have been chosen to play arguably the best country in the world.”
“It’s overwhelming. It gives you a sense of pride and reassurance that I belong at this level of football. It’s incredible.
This post is also available in: French