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Wife of NHL player who died at 31 says son thinks he's coming home

Hockey player Jimmy Hayes died unexpectedly last month.
Jimmy and Kristen Hayes married in July 2018.
Jimmy and Kristen Hayes married in July 2018.raising_hayes/ Instagram
/ Source: TODAY

Kristen Hayes, widow of the late NHL player Jimmy Hayes, opened up about her family’s grief in a moving Instagram post.

“Missing your arms wrapped around me extra today. Still keep thinking your coming home,” she wrote, sharing photos of her and her late husband embracing. “Beau races to the door each time it beeps hoping it’s you. Gosh, this is hard. I miss you so much.”

Hayes, an ice hockey right wing who had played with multiple NHL teams, including the Chicago Blackhawks and the Florida Panthers, died unexpectedly last month at age 31.

He and his wife had two sons, Beau, 2, and Mac, who was born this May.

Over the past week, Hayes has been sharing heartbreaking posts on Instagram about missing her husband.

“A week ago today. Now, a favorite memory,” she captioned one video of her husband playing with Beau as the Phil Collins song "You'll Be In My Heart" played in the background.

“The music that just happens to be playing gives me chills. Beau has watched this video countless times w/ a smile saying ‘again,'" she wrote. "Today is going to be a tough one. Please give me strength 👼🏼 I love you the most. You should be here.”

Two days after his death, she also shared a series of family pictures on the beach they had taken just days earlier.

“On Wednesday we took family photos. Little did I know they would be our last photos of a family of four,” she wrote in the caption. “I have no words. I’m heartbroken. We miss you. We love you. You should be here.”

Hayes also celebrated her late husband’s dedication to fatherhood in her Instagram story. She reposted an old tweet from writer Tom Venesky, who shared a sweet anecdote about how much the former hockey player had looked forward to being a dad.

“Yesterday Jimmy Hayes revealed to his family that he will be the father of a baby boy, due in August,” he wrote in the tweet from 2019, when the Hayes family was expecting their first child. “Hayes dedicated his first goal to his son: ‘I guess he can have that one. We'll have to see when he comes out in August, maybe I can score some more goals for him.’”

“His greatest accomplishment without question was being a dad,” Kristen Hayes wrote as she shared the throwback tweet. “can’t wait to show this to beau one day.”