IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Wife of NHL player Jimmy Hayes says she was ‘shocked’ drugs contributed to his death

“I hope getting Jimmy’s story out there can save someone’s life,” his father said.
Jimmy and Kristen Hayes married in July 2018.
Jimmy and Kristen Hayes married in July 2018.raising_hayes/ Instagram

Former NHL journeyman Jimmy Hayes, who won a national championship with Boston College, died with fentanyl and cocaine in his system, authorities said Sunday.

The medical examiner listed his cause of death as “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine,” according to a spokesman for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Jimmy Hayes time in the NHL included a stint with the Boston Bruins.
Jimmy Hayes time in the NHL included a stint with the Boston Bruins.Tom Mihalek / AP

Hayes, 31, was found dead Aug. 23 at his Milton, Massachusetts, home.

The right winger played in 334 NHL games over seven seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils. His best season was in Florida in 2014-15, when he recorded 19 goals and 16 assists. His younger brother plays for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Hayes was a member of the 2009-10 Boston College national championship team, contributing a goal and assist in the national semifinal win over Miami and adding an assist in the final against Wisconsin.

His wife, Kristen Hayes, was headed to a tribute for her husband at the Devils-Blackhawks game Friday when she got the toxicology report from the state medical examiner, according to the Boston Globe.

“I was so certain that it had nothing to do with drugs. I really thought it was a heart attack or anything that wasn’t that [drugs] ... It didn’t make any sense, so it was hard. I was hoping to get a different phone call when they called. I was hoping to get some clarity and I was shocked to hear that it was that ... He never showed any signs of a struggle at home,” she said.

While the findings left his wife “completely shocked,” they did not catch his father by surprise.

Kevin Hayes, 66, told the Globe that he approached his son after noticing a change in his behavior. The younger Hayes, who had struggled with painkillers as a player, later revealed that he started taking pills again due to an injury and never stopped, according to the newspaper.

“I’m an addict myself,” his dad said. “I’m sober a long, long time, but I know how powerful this stuff is. I was in shock when it happened, but then I started putting stuff together in my head.”

He told the Globe that he hopes “getting Jimmy’s story out there can save someone’s life. If this can save someone from the pain, great. 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.

“You have a beautiful, All-American boy who made a terrible mistake and it cost him his life.”


This story first appeared on