NHL

Fentanyl, cocaine contributed to death of former NHLer Jimmy Hayes

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.

Late player's father hopes sharing son's story 'can save someone's life'

The family of late NHL player Jimmy Hayes says the 31-year-old had fentanyl and cocaine in his system at the time of his death in August. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/File)

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.

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.

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," Kevin Hayes, Jimmy's father, 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."

Kevin Hayes said that he noticed a change in his son's behaviour last year. Jimmy stopped playing professional hockey in 2019.

"I went to him and I said, 'I think there might be a problem here with pills,'" Kevin Hayes told the Globe. "He had had an injury for a while and I think he started taking the painkillers and they get you. I said, 'Jim, I think I see a problem here.' And he's 31 years old, so I can't tell him to go get help. So I said, 'When you want help, I'll be here for you, pal. Let me know.'

"He called me three weeks later and said, 'Dad, I'm hooked on these pills. I got injured and I started taking them and I never got off.' And I said, 'Well, let's get you some help.' He went to a place up in Haverhill. So he gets help and everything was on the path to recovery I thought. But this [expletive] is so powerful.''

The Devils and Blackhawks held a pre-game tribute for Hayes before New Jersey's season opener Friday.

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