On August 23, former NHLer Jimmy Hayes unexpectedly passed away at the age of 31.
A player that was beloved by teammates and had deep roots in the Boston area, Hayes left a lasting impression on the sport and especially the fans of the teams he played for.
Jimmy's brother, Kevin Hayes — a current player for the Philadelphia Flyers — shared a tear-jerking example of Jimmy’s kindness and ability to touch the hearts of those around him.
Kevin Hayes shared this beautiful story at his brother Jimmy’s funeral. pic.twitter.com/jkVosgLNmo
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) August 30, 2021
"We got a call from Mike McHugh, who’s son Michael Jr., who was 12 years old, was terminally ill with cancer," Kevin said during the service.
"Jimmy got him tickets and passes to the Bruins game. After the game, Jimmy brought Michael and his dad into the locker room and asked who his favourite player was, and said, ‘it didn’t have to be me.’"
"Michael said it was David Krejci, so Jimmy brought him over to Krejci’s locker and had them hang out together for almost 20 minutes. After meeting his favourite player, Jimmy stayed with Michael; taking pictures, giving him sticks, and giving him a bunch of Bruins swag. Unfortunately, Michael passed away just a month later. His dad told us it was the greatest night of his son’s short life. And Michael loved Jimmy and he felt for the first time that he didn’t have cancer that night. His dad was awestruck by Jimmy’s kindness, and was so grateful, that Jimmy gave Michael one of the happiest days of his life,” Kevin said through tears.
“Mr. McHugh said that Jimmy will always be Michael’s hero. This is just one of the stories of how my brother changed many people’s lives.”
Prior to the memorial service, Jimmy’s wife Kristen shared a video of him as a caring father, playing with his son less than a week before he died.
"A week ago today. Now, a favorite memory," she wrote alongside the post. "The music that just happens to be playing gives me chills. Beau has watched this video countless times w/ a smile saying 'again.' Today is going to be a tough one. Please give me strength 👼🏼. I love you the most. You should be here."
Jimmy played most recently for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of Pittsburgh, during the 2018-19 season. Before that, he started off his professional career with the Chicago Blackhawks after winning a National Championship with Boston College in 2010.
Hayes appeared in 334 games for the Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils, and his hometown Boston Bruins.
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