In his final year of college, 1981-82, he was selected to the ECAC First All-Star Team and the NCAA All-American squad. He graduated from Cornell with a degree in business management. He was however overlooked by NHL scouts and was never drafted. Immediately after leaving school he signed with the Winnipeg Jets as a free agent. The Jets realized that Hayward was something special.
Brian played in parts of 4 seasons with the Jets, the first two of which were split between the NHL and AHL. But by his third professional season, Brian posted a career-best 33 victories in 1984-85, a Winnipeg Jets record he still shares with Bob Essensa. Hayward also remains third in career games played (165) with the Jets and third in career wins (63) with Winnipeg.
Early in the 1990-91 campaign, Brian was traded to Minnesota where he played one season with the North Stars before he was acquired by San Jose in the 1991 Dispersal Draft. Brian picked up the Sharks' first-ever victory in 1991-92 before missing 59 games with a back injury that year. While he was unable to play, Brian filled in as an analyst on Sharks TV and radio broadcasts. He played one more season with the Sharks before retiring due to his ailing back.
In 357 regular season games, Brian has a career record of 143-156-37 with a 3.72 goals-against average and eight shutouts. In 37 playoff contests, he posted a record of 11-18-0 with a 3.46 goals-against average.