Jimmy Hayes, a Boston-area native and former professional hockey player who spent time with several NHL teams over the last few years, passed away unexpectedly on Monday. He was 31 years old.
The cause of death was not immediately known or announced publicly, but according to the Boston Globe, which cited local authorities and first responders in the city of Milton, Massachusetts, foul play “was not suspected.”
Hayes was pronounced dead at his home in the city of Milton. Over the weekend, his wife Kristen had shown off a family photo on Instagram celebrating the birthday of the couple’s 2-year-old son Beau. In the IG photo, which you can see (below), Kristen is incredibly happy about Beau’s birthday while also showing pictures of Jimmy with the boy:
A post shared by Kristen Hayes (@raising_hayes)
Hours later, tragically, the elder Hayes was dead.
So, so sad.
The former hockey pro played a total of 334 games over seven NHL seasons during his athletic career, spending time with the New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs. He was originally drafted by the Maple Leafs out of Boston College, where he played hockey after growing up in the area — and later raising his family there, too.
BC Hockey released their own statement of mourning about Hayes’ sudden death on Monday:
The Blackhawks also released their own statement about Hayes’ passing, noting his fun-loving personality and likable spirit and writing (below):
“His warm personality made an immediate impact in the locker room and with our fans. We’re proud of the memories he made in Chicago, including making his NHL debut in 2011. Sending our thoughts and prayers to his family.”
After Hayes’ playing days ended, he joined the popular hockey podcast Missin’ Curfew with fellow former pro hockey players Shane O’Brien and Scottie Upshall.
The living two podcasters joined in sharing their condolences after Hayes’ passing on Monday afternoon:
“We lost our brother today. Goodbye Jimmy, we will love you forever.”
In addition to his wife Kristen and the aforementioned 2-year-old son Beau, the late hockey star is also survived by a 3-month-old son named Mac, his parents, and four siblings.
Younger brother Kevin, 29, is also an NHL player, currently playing for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to Jimmy Hayes’ family, friends, and loved ones — and especially his wife and two young sons. Such an awful, awful situation…
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