The Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers paid tribute to the late Jimmy Hayes ahead of their game Saturday night at TD Garden.
Hayes was a popular teammate for each franchise, and both teams honored him during warmups Saturday with players wearing special jerseys with two of Hayes' nicknames on the back. In Boston, it was "Hayesy," and in Florida it was "Broadway."
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The Bruins and Panthers are auctioning the jerseys, with all funds raised benefitting a charity to be determined by the Hayes family and the teams. The Bruins jerseys can be found here while the Panthers’ auction is here.
The Bruins are also donating the proceeds from Saturday’s 50/50 raffle to the same charity.
A collective moment of silence was then held for Hayes prior to puck drop, and the Dorchester native was remembered for his kind heart and how incredibly proud he was to play for the Bruins -- what was his childhood dream come true.
"Ladies and gentlemen, on August 23, the hockey community and City of Boston suffered a heartbreaking loss as Dorchester native and former Florida Panther and Boston Bruin Jimmy Hayes tragically passed away at the age of 31. Jimmy was a beloved teammate, a caring husband and father, and an admired member of the community. Growing up just a few miles from TD Garden, he wore the black and gold with an unmatched sense of pride for the city that loved him as much as he loved it," the announcer said.
"Jimmy, fondly known in these halls as 'Hayesy,' or in the Florida locker room as 'Broadway,' will always be remembered for his big heart, love of the game and selfless commitment to the community, local charities and youth hockey organizations. At this time, we ask that you please join us for a moment of silence as we honor and celebrate the life of Jimmy Hayes."
Following the moment of silence that preceded the game, a tribute video of Hayes was shown on the jumbotron, featuring highlights from his time on the ice and off. The clips shown highlighted his big personality and dedication to the community, including trips to local hospitals around the holidays.
A number of Bruins players, including Brad Marchand, appeared visibly emotional watching the video while standing on the ice.
At the conclusion of the touching video, players on both teams gave stick taps to honor Hayes.
Florida interim coach Andrew Brunette spoke about Hayes before the game, saying, "I played with Jimmy. A very infectious kid and a pleasure to be around. I miss not being able to see him but to be part of it tonight is very special.”
Hayes helped Boston College win a national championship as a sophomore in 2010. Selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round (No. 60) of the 2008 NHL Draft, Hayes scored 109 points (54 goals, 55 points) in 334 games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Panthers, Bruins and New Jersey Devils.
Hayes died unexpectedly in August, a day after his son Beau's second birthday party, at the age of 31 in his Milton, Massachusetts, home. His death was ruled an accident from acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine.
His family, including his dad and wife, shared his cause of death publicly in hopes of helping others who may be struggling with addiction, believing his story could do good.
Kristen Hayes has said her husband's legacy is not defined by his drug addiction, and she will tell their sons, 2-year-old Beau and 5-month-old Mac, to "#belikejimmy," remarking how generous and kind he was to everyone he encountered.