It did not take long for tributes to come in throughout social media after the word that former NHL forward Jimmy Hayes was found dead in his Milton, Mass., home on Monday morning.
A cause of his death has not been determined.
It has been a sad few days for the hockey world.
On Saturday morning, three junior hockey players were killed in a single car crash in British Columbia.
Sunday, it was announced that New York Rangers legend Rod Gilbert had died at the age of 90.
Then came Monday’s news.
Hayes, whose family is a huge part of the New England hockey scene, leaves behind a wife and two young sons.
Hayes is also survived by his parents Shelagh and Kevin Sr. as well as siblings Genevieve, Eileen, Justine and Kevin — a center with the Flyers.
Frank Vatrano, who played with Hayes for a brief time with the Bruins, spoke glowingly of Hayes in a Boston Globe obituary wonderfully written by former Palm Beach Post writer Matt Porter.
“Jimmy was the best,’’ Vatrano said. “He could light up a room. He made everyone laugh. He was the first guy who took me under his wing, made sure I was comfortable, made sure I was invited to dinner with all the guys.”
Bob Murray, Hayes’ agent, told the Globe “I’ve been in a state of shock all day. We are devastated by the loss of Jimmy. I can’t emphasize enough how great a kid he was. He was the nicest young man I dealt with.He was nice to everybody. A great friend. Just universally loved.”
Social media was filled with tributes to the guy they called “Broadway” Jimmy Hayes.
Shawn Thornton, who played with Hayes with the Panthers and has known the family for years, put up a post on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
I was devastated to learn of Jimmy’s passing this morning. My condolences are with his wife Kristen, his two young boys and the rest of his family and friends in Boston. The hockey community has lost a tremendous person and friend. I’ll greatly miss his wonderful sense of humor… pic.twitter.com/YacQcv9nt2
— Shawn Thornton FDN (@ThorntonFDN) August 23, 2021
P.K. Subban, who was a teammate of Hayes from a very young age, wrote a touching, three-post Twitter thread.
“There have been times in my life when I’ve been at a loss for words, lack of understanding and just bewildered,’’ Subban wrote. “Today I’m hurting for so many reasons because we lost one of our brothers in the hockey world.
“I was fortunate enough to play with with jimmy at 6 years old and get to know him, his brother @kphayes12 and father big kevin and many others in the boston and Dorchester area through my career. I’m hurting for all of you today. We know in life we don’t control when we go, but jimmy was taken far too soon.”
Added former New Jersey teammate Blake Coleman: “When I think of a ‘locker room guy’ I think of Jimmy ‘Broadway’ Hayes. Very devastating news, he will be missed by so many, he always brought a smile to the rink in our time together in New Jersey. Our thoughts are with Kristen and their 2 young boys. Rest In Peace bud.’’
At loss of words when I first came to Boston you were the first guy to take me under your wing. Your smile, laugh, and personality was contagious it lit up the entire room. You will be missed dearly rest easy Broadway. My thoughts and prayers are with the Hayes family ❤️ pic.twitter.com/3yRKlE75kR
— Frank Vatrano (@Frank_Vatrano) August 23, 2021
FLORIDA PANTHERS LINKS
There isn’t much going on and, really, with the news of Jimmy Hayes’ death, we’ll just keep things with him today.
From the Boston Globe: Hockey world reacts to death of former Bruin and Dorchester native Jimmy Hayes
From Sportsnet: ‘Gone way too soon’: Hockey world honors Jimmy Hayes following tragic death
From the Toronto Star: Jimmy Hayes, former Maple Leafs draft pick and NHL veteran, has died at age 31