Fans love the way Kevin Hayes kills penalties. They also love the way he celebrates goals and chirps in the locker room and on the ice.
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As a result of his popularity, Hayes on Monday was named the 2019-20 Gene Hart Memorial Award winner, given by the Flyers’ Fan Club to the player who demonstrates the most heart.
» From the archives: Kevin Hayes assess his first season as a Flyer
Philadelphia signed Hayes to a seven-year, $50 million contract in June 2019, reuniting the player with Alain Vigneault, the new Flyers coach who was Hayes’ coach with the Rangers in his first four NHL seasons.
Hayes had 23 goals in 69 games, including a career-best four shorthanded to lead the NHL. His ebullient personality also made him popular among teammates, although his practice of playing a one-man game of keep-away while killing penalties made some nervous.
Hayes, 28, is just the third player to win the award in his first true season with the Flyers, joining Ian Laperriere (2009-10) and Wayne Simmonds (2011-12). Sean Couturier had won the award, which has been handed out since 2006-07, the last two seasons.
“This being my first year, I felt right at home from day one,” Hayes said in a team statement. “I love this team, organization, fan base and city. It’s hard not to love playing at the Wells Fargo Center every night in front of the best fans in the league.”
2006-07: Sami Kapanen
2007-08: Mike Richards
2008-09: Scott Hartnell
2009-10: Ian Laperriere
2010-11: Claude Giroux
2011-12: Wayne Simmonds
2012-13: Zac Rinaldo
2013-14: Steve Mason
2014-15: Jake Voracek
2015-16: Shayne Gostisbehere
2016-17: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
2017-18: Sean Couturier
2018-19: Sean Couturier
2019-20: Kevin Hayes