THE CAUSE OF DEATH OF JIMMY HAYES HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED...

OCT 17, 2021  (19H26)      JEFF DROUIN
Let's remember last August 23, the hockey planet lost a great man in Jimmy Hayes. This one suddenly passed away, leaving his two sons and his wife in mourning.

The cause of his death was unknown until today. According to information revealed by his family, Jimmy Hayes died of an overdose of Fentanyl and cocaine.

His wife Kristen was in shock when she heard the news. She had no idea what kind of addiction issues her husband was facing.

"I was completely shocked," Kristen said. "I was so sure it had nothing to do with drugs. I really thought it was a heart attack or something that wasn't that [drugs]... It didn't make sense, so it was hard. I was hoping to get a different 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 struggle at home."

His friends were aware that Hayes had had problems with pain medication addiction in the past, but they all believed it was behind him.

His father, Kevin, wasn't as surprised as everyone else, quite the opposite...

"I'm an addict myself," said the 66-year-old father of five.

"I've been sober for a long, long time, but I know how powerful this stuff is. I was in shock when it happened, but then I started putting things together in my head... I know what addiction does. I know what addiction does."

"About 16 or 17 months ago, I noticed a little change in Jimmy's behavior and I went to him and said, 'I think there might be a pill problem.' He had been injured for a while and I think he started taking painkillers and they take you." I said, "Jim, I think I see a problem here. And he's 31 years old, so I can't tell him to go get help. So I said, 'When you want help, I'll be there for you, buddy. Just give me a shout."

"He called me three weeks later and said, 'Dad, I'm addicted to these pills. I got hurt and started taking them and I never stopped.' And I said, 'Well, we'll get you some help. He went to a place in Haverhill. So he got help and everything was on the road to recovery, I thought. But that [expletive] is so powerful."

The father is very hopeful that people will take something positive from this story and not identify his son as a "junkie." Jimmy Hayes' story will go a long way in helping the world, he says.

"I don't want him to be stigmatized as an [expletive] junkie," Kevin Hayes said. "You know what I mean? Because he wasn't. Jimmy was helping everybody. Some of the stories I heard. He never said no. [Former Bruin] Torey Krug told me they used to go to the children's hospital. Jimmy would fall in love with a kid, then come back a week later. And a week later. He was a wonderful child, but this addiction is so powerful. If I had a formula that could tell people."

"I hope that getting Jimmy's story out there can save someone's life. If it can save someone from pain, so much the better. It's just so sad. I pride myself on being mentally strong enough. I'm a street guy. But there's no formula for it. You have a beautiful American boy who made a terrible mistake and it cost him his life."

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