Hayes reportedly passed away at his home in Milton in Massachusetts on 23 August. The cause of his death is not yet known.
The news was first broken by the the Boston Globe which reported that he is survived by his wife Kristen and two sons, Beau, two, and Mac, three months.
Hayes retired from the sport in 2019 and had been hosting a podcast called Missin Curfew along with fellow ex-hockey professional players Shane O’Brien and Scottie Upshall.
They shared a message paying tribute to him: “We lost our brother today. Goodbye Jimmy, we will love you forever. Our thoughts, prayers and love go out to the Hayes family, his wife Kristen and his two beautiful boys, Beau and Mac. We are heartbroken and absolutely devastated today. We appreciate all the kind words.”
Hayes’ retirement from hockey came after playing for Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. Their parent team Pittsburgh Penguins shared a tribute to him online.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former @WBSPenguins forward, Jimmy Hayes. The Penguins organization sends our thoughts and prayers to Jimmy’s family, friends, and former teammates during this extremely difficult time,” they tweeted.
His other former teams, the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, paid tribute to him on their Twitter pages.
“The Boston Bruins are heartbroken by the passing of Dorchester native and former Bruin Jimmy Hayes. Our thoughts are with his wife Kristen, his sons Beau and Mac, and the entire Hayes family during this very difficult time,” the Boston Bruins wrote.
The Toronto Maple Leafs tweeted, “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Maple Leafs draft pick, Jimmy Hayes. Known for his character and kindness around the league, Jimmy will be dearly missed by all. Our thoughts are with the entire Hayes family during this difficult time.”
The Maple Leafs were Hayes’ first team after he was recruited by them in 2008.
However, it was not until 2011 he made his NHL debut with the the Chicago Blackhawks.
“His warm personality made an immediate impact in the locker room and with our fans,” the team said in a statement. “We’re proud of the memories he made in Chicago.”
In addition to these teams, he also played for the New Jersey Devils and the Florida Panthers.
Hayes was an alumnus of Boston College and during his time there he played three seasons and helped the team win an NCAA championship. They paid their respects on Twitter.
They tweeted: “Boston College Hockey is heartbroken over the passing of Jimmy Hayes. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Hayes family.”
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