Jimmy Hayes' family hopes sharing his story 'can save someone's life' after fentanyl contributed to former NHL player's sudden death

His family revealed to The Boston Globe that Jimmy Hayes, an ex-NHL player, had cocaine and fentanyl in him when he died.
Hayes, who was celebrating his second birthday on Aug. 23rd in Boston, was found dead at home. He was 31.

Kevin Hayes, Hayes' dad, said to the Boston Globe that he hopes Jimmy's story can save someone's lives. This can save someone's pain. It's so sad. I am proud of my mental strength. I'm a street guy. There's no way to do this. This is the story of a gorgeous, All-American boy who made an awful mistake that cost him his life.

Kristen Hayes, Jimmy Hayes' spouse, said that she received Friday's toxicology report from Massachusetts state medical examiner. The call was made while she was on her way to New Jersey to attend a Devils - Blackhawks game. There was also a tribute to Hayes before the game.

Kristen said that she was shocked. I was certain it wasn't drug-related. It was my belief that it was a heart attack, or something else that wasn't related to drugs. ... It was confusing and difficult to understand. I was hoping for a different call. I wanted to be clear and was surprised to find out that they did. ... He didn't show any signs of struggle at home.

Kevin Hayes stated that he noticed a "little change" in his son's behavior 16 to 17 months ago.

Kevin Hayes said that he went to him and suggested that he take some pills. He had been suffering from an injury for some time and he began taking painkillers to relieve the pain. I replied, "Jim, I think there's a problem." He's 31 years of age, so I couldn't tell him not to seek help. So I told him, "When you need help, I'll always be there for you, pal." Please let me know.

Three weeks later, he called me and said that he was addicted to these pills. After I was injured, I began taking the pills and never stopped. I replied, "Well, let us get you some help." He ended up going to Haverhill. He gets help, and everything is on the road to recovery I thought. This [expletive] is so strong.

Hayes' father stated that it was important to share Hayes' story, as he didn’t want him to be "stigmatized like a junkie."

"Because, he wasn’t. Jimmy helped everybody," Kevin Hayes said to the Globe. "Some of these stories I've heard. He never said no. Torey Krug, an ex-Bruin, told me that they used to go the Children's Hospital. Jimmy would fall in love with a child and then return to the hospital a week later. A week later, he was back. This addiction is so strong, he was a great kid.

Hayes was born in Dorchester and became a hero in his hometown. He won a national championship in Boston College in 2010 and then went on to play for the Boston Bruins. On Aug. 29, thousands attended his wake in Dorchester, with mourners filling the streets and many young hockey players wearing Dorchester Youth Hockey jerseys.

Hayes was a 2008 second-round pick in the draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played seven NHL seasons with the Blackhawks and Panthers, Bruins, Devils, and Devils. He scored 54 goals and assisted 55 times in 334 games.

Hayes was last professional player in 2019. He had previously been co-host of "Missin Curfew" podcast.

Kevin Hayes Jr. is his younger brother and a forward for Philadelphia Flyers.