Former NHL player Jimmy Hayes, whose younger brother, Kevin, is in his third season with the Flyers, died with cocaine and fentanyl in his system, according to his widow.
Kristen Hayes told the Boston Globe she was “completely shocked” Friday when she received the results of the toxicology report, she said she was “so certain it had nothing to do with drugs.” She said her husband “never showed any signs of a [drug] struggle at home.”
Hayes was pronounced dead at his Massachusetts home Aug. 23 at the age of 31.
Hayes played parts of seven NHL seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, and New Jersey Devils.
Kevin Hayes, who is rehabbing after abdominal surgery, skated with the Flyers during their Monday morning practice at the Wells Fargo Center and declined comment. He has called Jimmy his best friend.
Kevin Hayes Sr., their father, told the Globe he had been “an addict myself” but has been sober for a “long, long time,” and said his son was not a “junkie.” He told the newspaper he hoped spreading Jimmy’s story can “save someone’s life.”
He said Jimmy told him he started taking painkillers for an injury and that he was ”hooked.”
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault, who said “everyone is supporting” the Flyers’ Kevin Hayes and his family, was asked if NHL players who use painkillers for injuries need more drug education.
“There’s no doubt we could do a little more,” he said. “But I don’t think this is just a hockey-related problem. It’s a society problem, right?”