Jimmy Hayes, the former college hockey star, NHLer and Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, died suddenly on Monday at the age of 31, according to police in Boston.
First responders were called to Hayes’ home on Monday morning, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. Hayes was pronounced dead at the scene and no further details were released.
The six-foot-five, 215-pound winger led Boston College to a national hockey championship before going on to play seven seasons in the NHL for the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils.
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The Toronto Maple Leafs selected him in the second round, 60th overall, in the 2008 NHL entry draft, though he did not make his NHL debut until 2011 after a trade to the Blackhawks.
Hayes played his last pro year in 2018-19 as a member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ minor-league affiliate. He later became co-host of the podcast Missin Curfew.
Several teams and dozens of current and former NHLers mourned Hayes on Twitter Monday. They also offered their condolences to his wife, Kristen, sons Beau and Mac and brother Kevin, who currently plays for the Philadelphia Flyers.
“So devastated,” Ottawa Senators star Brady Tkachuk tweeted. “Jimmy was not only a role model to me but also to so many young hockey players in Boston.”
“His warm personality made an immediate impact in the locker room and with our fans,” the Blackhawks said in a statement.
The native of Dorchester, Mass., is survived by his wife and children, along with four siblings and his parents, Shelagh and Kevin Hayes Sr.
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