Former NHL player and Massachusetts native Jimmy Hayes died unexpectedly Monday. He was 31 years old.
The cause of Hayes’ death is unknown at the moment. The Boston Globe reported his death is not considered suspicious.
Hayes, a Dorchester native, was a second-round draft pick of Toronto in the 2008 NHL Draft. Before going pro, he played his college hockey at Boston College where he played three seasons. He scored 13 goals and added 22 assists during the 2009-10 season that culminated with the Eagles winning the national championship.
He eventually made his NHL debut with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011.
Hayes played with five different teams over the course of five seasons in the NHL. He was given a homecoming in 2015 when the Panthers traded him, and he signed a three-year deal with the Bruins.
“It’s a dream come true,” Hayes said in 2015 after landing with Boston. “I grew up a Boston Bruins fan and having the chance to play for the Boston Bruins is a dream come true. It really hasn’t sunk in yet, but it’s probably one of the most exciting moments I’ve had in a while.”
He had one of the best seasons of his career with his hometown team, scoring 13 goals and adding 16 assists in 75 games in 2015-16 for the Black and Gold.
The highlight came on Dec. 29, 2015, when Hayes scored a hat trick at TD Garden against the Ottawa Senators.
Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, Hayes’ teammate for two seasons, issued a statement upon the news breaking.
“I’m devastated to learn of the passing of my friend Jimmy Hates,” Bergeron said. “It was a pleasure getting to know Jimmy and he was such a joy to be around both on and off the ice. I’ll always remember his big smile — he was so positive and full of life. I’m really going to miss that. We’ve lost a great person.
“My family and I send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Kristen, their two young boys, his brother Kevin and the rest of his family during this difficult time.”
Boston eventually bought out Hayes, and he signed with the Devils. His final NHL game came with New Jersey in 2018.
Hayes leaves behind a wife and two children. His brother, Kevin Hayes, currently plays for the Philadelphia Flyers.