An autopsy showed that former Boston College men’s hockey star and former Boston Bruin Jimmy Hayes, found dead in his home on Aug. 23, died with fentanyl and cocaine in his system. Hayes’ wife and father made the news public on Sunday. Hayes was 31 years old at the time of his death.
The autopsy was performed two days after his death, and Hayes’ wife Kristen was given news of the cause of death on Friday, according to The Boston Globe. Hayes’ cause of death was listed by the Massachusetts state medical examiner as “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine,” according to a spokesman for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.
“I was completely shocked,’’ Kristen said to The Boston Globe on Sunday. “I was so certain that it had nothing to do with drugs. I really thought it was a heart attack or anything that wasn’t that [drugs]. … It didn’t make any sense, so it was hard. I was hoping to get a different phone 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 a struggle at home.”
Hayes’ father, Kevin Hayes Sr., told the Globe that he is an addict himself, though he has long been sober.
“I know how powerful this stuff is,” he said. “I was in shock when it happened, but then I started putting stuff together in my head. … I know what addiction does. I know about addiction.”
Following his death, the Eagles and Bruins took to their respective social media platforms to honor the former forward. Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey also illuminated city hall in Hayes’ honor, and a moment of silence commemorated Hayes’ passing prior to the Foxboro Prep League Hockey Championship.
Born in Dorchester, Hayes was one of five siblings including current Philadelphia Flyers skater Kevin Hayes Jr. Hayes chose to attend college close to home at BC, where he cemented his legacy as a local hockey legend and played alongside his younger brother Kevin.
During his sophomore year at BC, Hayes was an integral part of the Eagles’ 2010 NCAA National Championship team.
Although Hayes was not on the 2012 National Championship team, Hayes is remembered as a key piece in the golden age of BC hockey, when the Eagles took home two National Championships in three years.
According to BC head coach Jerry York, Hayes’ legacy extends beyond his contributions on the ice. York released a statement after the initial announcement of Hayes’ death in August.
“Of all the kids I’ve coached, [Hayes is] certainly in my top 5 as far as being enjoyable to coach, to hang in the locker room with,” York said following Hayes’ death. “His off-ice contributions to our team, I marveled at so many different times.”
York declined to comment to The Heights on the news of the cause of Hayes’ death.
Hayes was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, and he later signed with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. Hayes played for four different NHL teams during his seven-season career, including two years with the Boston Bruins at the end of his time in the NHL.
After his hockey career, Hayes returned to the Boston area to live in Milton with his wife and two young sons, Beau and Mac. Hayes maintained his role in the hockey community through his participation on the “Missin Curfew” NHL podcast.
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