Jimmy Hayes cause of death revealed; family hopes his story will save lives

Former NHL forward Jimmy Hayes, who passed away at age 31 in August, had fentanyl and cocaine in his system at the time of his death, family members told the Boston Globe.

Hayes had a seven-year NHL career with the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils. His brother, Kevin Hayes, currently plays for the Philadelphia Flyers.

A Boston area native, Jimmy Hayes also won an NCAA hockey championship with Boston College in 2010.

Jimmy Hayes had fentanyl and cocaine in his system

He was pronounced dead at his home in Milton, Mass., on Aug. 23. A cause of death was not available at that time, but Hayes’ family recently received the toxicology report.

“I was completely shocked,’’ said Kristen. “I was so certain that it had nothing to do with drugs. I really thought it was a heart attack or anything that wasn’t that [drugs] . . . It didn’t make any sense, so it was hard. I was hoping to get a different phone call when they called. I was hoping to get some clarity and I was shocked to hear that it was that . . . He never showed any signs of a struggle at home.’’

Kristen Hayes via Boston Globe

His family remembered Jimmy as a young husband and father who always looked to do good deeds for others.

“I hope getting Jimmy’s story out there can save someone’s life. If this can save someone from the pain, great,” Jim’s dad Kevin Hayes told the Globe. “It’s just so sad. I pride myself on being pretty mentally strong. I’m a street guy. But there’s just no formula for this.”

The Devils and Blackhawks held a pregame tribute for Hayes before New Jersey’s season opener Friday.

Jimmy’s wife wanted to leave everyone with a powerful message that was relayed by the Boston Globe for the interview.

“He would never want to see me, and the boys, and our family hurting the way we are,’’ she wrote. “I know he would give anything to still be here with us today. I am heartbroken and devastated, but I will choose to remember my husband and the boys’ dad by all the joy and love he brought us, and I hope everyone else does, too.’’

–Field Level Media