Jimmy Hayes’ family opens up about former Bruin’s drug-related death, hopes story can help others

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Jimmy Hayes’ wife, Kristen, and father, Kevin, are opening up about the former Bruins forward’s death in a Boston Globe story posted Sunday.

Hayes, a Dorchester native, was found dead in his Milton home on Aug. 23 at the age of 31.

The cause of death remained unclear after an initial autopsy, but Kristen Hayes shared with the Globe that a toxicology report that came back on Friday revealed that Hayes had fentanyl and cocaine in his system at the time of his death.

Hayes’ father said that his son had developed an addiction to painkillers and had undergone treatment last year. He told the Globe that he hopes sharing Hayes’ story might help someone else.

“He was just a wonderful kid, but this addiction [expletive] is just so powerful,” Kevin Hayes said. “If I had a formula that could tell people ... I hope getting Jimmy’s story out there can save someone’s life. If this can save someone from the pain, great. It’s just so sad. I pride myself on being pretty mentally strong. I’m a street guy. But there’s just no formula for this.”

Kevin Hayes, who is sober now after battling his own addiction problem years ago, said he saw a change in his son nearly a year and a half ago and suspected that pills he was taking while dealing with an injury were to blame. He told his son he was ready to help whenever he wanted it.

“He called me three weeks later and said, ‘Dad, I’m hooked on these pills. I got injured and I started taking them and I never got off.’ And I said, ‘Well, let’s get you some help.’ He went to a place up in Haverhill. So he gets help and everything was on the path to recovery I thought. But this [expletive] is so powerful.’’

The Globe reports that Hayes’ wife and many of his friends knew about the problem and the treatment he had gotten, but that they believed it was behind him.

“I was completely shocked,’’ his wife, Kristen, said. “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 played seven seasons in the NHL from 2011-18, including two with the Bruins from 2015-17. He played three seasons at Boston College from 2008-11, helping the Eagles win a national championship in 2010.