Former NHL forward Jimmy Hayes, who died aged 31 in August, had fentanyl and cocaine in his body at the time of his death, family members told the Boston Globe.
Hayes enjoyed 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 native of the Boston area, Jimmy Hayes also won an NCAA hockey championship with Boston College in 2010.
He was pronounced dead at his home in Milton, Massachusetts on August 23. The cause of death was not available at the time, but Hayes’ family recently received the toxicology report.
Jimmy was remembered by his family as a young husband and father who always sought to do good deeds for others.
“I hope that broadcasting Jimmy’s story can save someone’s life. If it can save someone from pain, so much the better, ”Kevin Hayes, Jimmy’s father, told The Globe. ” It’s so sad. I’m proud to be mentally strong enough. I’m a street guy. But there is simply no formula for it. “
Kevin Hayes said he noticed a change in his son’s behavior last year. Jimmy quit playing professional hockey in 2019.
“I went to see him and said, ‘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. Let me know.’
“He called me three weeks later and said, ‘Daddy, 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. “
The Devils and Blackhawks paid tribute to Hayes ahead of New Jersey’s opener on Friday.