Former NHL player Jimmy Hayes had cocaine and fentanyl in his body when he died, his family told the Boston Globe on Sunday.
Hayes was found dead at his home in suburban Boston on August 23, the day after his son’s second birthday celebration. He was 31 years old.
“I hope that spreading Jimmy’s story can save someone’s life,” Hayes’ father Kevin told the Boston Globe. “If that can save someone from pain, great. It’s so sad. I’m proud to be strong enough mentally. I’m a street guy. But there just isn’t a formula. for that. You have a handsome All-American boy who made a terrible mistake and it cost him his life. ”
Jimmy Hayes’ wife Kristen told the newspaper that she received the toxicology report from the Massachusetts state medical examiner on Friday. She took the call as she was on her way to New Jersey to watch a Devils-Blackhawks game, which featured a pre-game tribute for Hayes.
“I was completely shocked,” Kristen told The Globe. “I was so sure it had nothing to do with drugs. I really thought it was a heart attack or whatever it wasn’t. [drugs]. … It didn’t make sense, so it was difficult. I was hoping to get another phone call when they called. I was hoping to get some clarification and was shocked to hear that was it. … He never showed any sign of a struggle at home. ”
Kevin Hayes said 16 or 17 months ago he noticed “a little change” in his son’s behavior.
“I went to see him and I said to him, ‘I think there might be a problem here with the pills,'” Kevin Hayes told The Globe. “He had been injured for a while and I think he started taking pain relievers and they got you. I said, ‘Jim, I think I see a problem here. “And he’s 31, so I can’t tell him to go get help. So I said, ‘When you want help, I’ll be there for you, mate. know.’
“He called me three weeks later and said, ‘Dad, I’m addicted to these pills. I hurt myself and started taking them and I never stopped.’ And I said, ‘Well, let’s go help you.’ He went to a place in Haverhill. So he got help and it was all on the road to recovery, I thought. But this [expletive] is so powerful. ”
Hayes’ father said it was important to share his son’s story because he didn’t want him to be “branded as a junkie”.
“Because he wasn’t. Jimmy helped everyone,” Kevin Hayes told The Globe. “Some of the stories I’ve heard. He never said no. [Former Bruin] Torey Krug told me they were going to the children’s hospital. Jimmy fell in love with a child, then returned a week later. And a week later. He was just a wonderful child, but that addiction … is so powerful. “
Hayes, who was born and raised in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester, became a local hero after winning a national championship with Boston College in 2010 and then playing for the Boston Bruins. Thousands of people followed in Dorchester’s wake on August 29, with mourners on the streets, including many young athletes wearing Dorchester Youth Hockey jerseys.
Hayes, a 2008 Toronto Maple Leafs second-round pick, played seven seasons in the NHL for the Blackhawks, Panthers, Bruins and Devils. In 334 games, he scored 54 goals and 55 assists.
Hayes last performed professionally in 2019 and had co-hosted a podcast titled “Missin Curfew”.
His younger brother, Kevin Hayes Jr., is a forward for the Philadelphia Flyers.