The Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers paid tribute to the late Jimmy Hayes ahead of their Saturday night game at TD Garden.
The former NHL forward, who played seven seasons in the league, spent two seasons each with the Panthers (2013-15) and Bruins (2015-17).
Hayes was a popular teammate for every franchise, and both teams honored him in warm-ups on Saturday with players wearing special shirts with two of Hayes’ nicknames on their backs. In Boston it was “Hayesy”, and in Florida it was “Broadway”.
The Bruins and Panthers are auctioning off the jerseys, and all funds raised will be donated to a charity to be determined by the Hayes family and the teams. The Bruins jerseys can be found here while the Panthers auction is here.
The Bruins are also donating the proceeds from Saturday’s 50/50 raffle to the same charity.
A moment of collective silence then ensued for Hayes before the puck face off, and the Dorchester native is remembered for his good heart and how incredibly proud he was to play for the Bruins – which was his childhood dream come true.
“Ladies and gentlemen, on August 23, the hockey community and the city of Boston suffered a heartbreaking loss when Jimmy Hayes, a native of Dorchester and former Florida Panther and Boston Bruin, tragically passed away at the age of 31. years. Jimmy was a beloved teammate, a caring husband. and father, and an admired member of the community. Growing up a few miles from TD Garden, he wore black and gold with an unparalleled sense of pride for the city that loved him as much as it loved it, ”said the announcer.
“Jimmy, affectionately known in these venues as” Hayesy “or in Florida locker rooms as” Broadway “, will always be remembered for his big heart, his love of the game and his selfless commitment to the game. community, local charities and youth hockey organizations. At this time, we ask you to join us for a minute of silence as we honor and celebrate the life of Jimmy Hayes. “
Following the moment of silence leading up to the game, a tribute video of Hayes was shown on the jumbotron, featuring highlights from his time on and off the ice. The clips shown highlighted his great personality and dedication to the community, including trips to local hospitals during the holidays.
A number of Bruins players, including Brad Marchand, looked visibly moved as they watched the video as they stood on the ice.
At the end of the touching video, players from both teams gave sticks to honor Hayes.
Florida interim coach Andrew Brunette spoke about Hayes ahead of the game, saying, “I played with Jimmy. A very infectious kid and a pleasure to be with him. I miss not being able to see him. , but being a part of it tonight is very special. “
Hayes helped Boston College win a sophomore national championship in 2010. Selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round (60th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft, Hayes scored 109 points (54 goals, 55 points) in 334 games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Panthers, Bruins and New Jersey Devils.
Hayes passed away suddenly in August, a day after his son Beau’s second birthday party, at the age of 31 at his home in Milton, Massachusetts. His death was considered to be an accident due to acute poisoning due to the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine.
Dorchester native, Boston College champion and former Boston Bruins player Jimmy Hayes was recalled at a funeral on Monday where his brother, NHL player Kevin Hayes, gave a moving speech.
His family, including his father and wife, have publicly shared the cause of his death in hopes of helping others with addictions, believing his story could do some good.
Kristen Hayes said her husband’s legacy was not defined by his drug addiction, and she will tell their sons, Beau, 2, and Mac, 5 months, of “#belikejimmy”, noting how generous he was. and kind to everyone he has met.