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Hockey world reacts to death of former Bruin and Dorchester native Jimmy Hayes

Jimmy Hayes had 15 goals and 33 points in 133 games for the Bruins.Jim Davis/The Boston Globe

Jimmy Hayes, a former right winger for the Bruins, died unexpectedly Monday morning.

Hayes, a 6-foot-5-inch, 215-pound Dorchester native, played 334 games in the NHL for four teams, including the Bruins from 2015-17. He also played at Boston College, helping the Eagles win the national championship in 2010.

After news of his death broke, the hockey community shared an outpouring of grief.

The Bruins offered their thoughts to Hayes’s wife, Kristen, and his two sons.

Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron issued a statement through the team:

“It was a pleasure getting to know Jimmy, and he was such a joy to be around both on and off the ice,” Bergeron said. “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.”


The Toronto Maple Leafs, who selected Hayes in the second round of of the 2008 NHL Draft, said Hayes was “known for his character and kindness around the league.”

Hayes made his NHL debut in 2011 with the Chicago Blackhawks, appearing in 43 games with the organization. The Blackhawks said Hayes’s “warm personality made an immediate impact in the locker room and with our fans.”

Hayes’s most productive season came in 2014-15, when he scored 19 goals with 16 assists for the Florida Panthers. David Dwork, who covers the Panthers for WPLG Local 10 News, called Hayes “an amazingly nice man.”

Hayes played 33 games for the Devils in 2017-18. Calgary Flames forward Blake Coleman, his teammate in New Jersey, offered a touching tribute, saying Hayes “always brought a smile to the rink.”

A reporter for the Devils shared photos from a theme night in New Jersey, saying Hayes was “such a character around the room.”

The Flames said Hayes was “Known around the league for his kindness and generosity, he will be greatly missed.”


Hayes finished his professional career with the Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes Barre/Scranton, Pa. (2018-19).

In three seasons at Chestnut Hill, Hayes had 42 goals and 39 assists. As a sophomore in the 2009-10 season, the Eagles won the Beanpot, the Hockey East tournament, and the NCAA tournament. The school paid tribute to him, posting a picture of Hayes hoisting the NCAA trophy on its Twitter account.

Many from the college hockey community paid their respects, including some of BC’s biggest rivals on the ice.

Follow Andrew Mahoney @GlobeMahoney.