This was a tough one for Philadelphia Flyers’ Kevin Hayes.
On Friday, after team practice at training camp, Kevin spoke for the first time about the death of his brother Jimmy Hayes last month.
“My brother was a special person. He touched a lot of lives,” Kevin Hayes said in an emotional news conference at Flyers camp. “He really enjoyed life and really enjoyed helping others. It sucks that he’s gone. It happened way too fast.”
Kevin Hayes focuses on talking about all the great things his brother taught him. Jimmy Hayes died Aug. 23 at his home in Milton, Massachusetts, at 31 years old. The official cause of death remains unconfirmed. Hayes played 334 games in the NHL, having last played professionally in 2019. He is survived by his wife, Kristen, and two sons, 2-year-old Beau and 3-month-old Mac.
Despite an injury that is keeping him sidelined for a few weeks, Kevin Hayes is adamant he will be playing in his late brother’s memory this season. Kevin revealed how his brother was his biggest supporter, to the point where he would offer to speak to team management if he wasn’t happy with Kevin’s ice time.
“It’s going to be weird stepping on the ice for the first time knowing that my brother’s not there,” Kevin Hayes said. “When I’m having bad days or bad games or not playing up to [what] all the fans want me to here, I’ll just think of my brother, and hopefully he’ll push me through.”
While Hayes won’t dress for the season opener, he needed to be around his teammates during that process. He needed to get away from Boston, where the Hayes family is well-known in the hockey community, to heal.
“It was tough being there. No one really knew how to act,” Hayes said. “You couldn’t even go get coffee without someone coming up or awkwardly holding the door for me or wanting to buy me coffee. It just got repetitive. No one really knows how to handle what happened. There’s no playbook on how to handle death. It was really nice to come back here and get into a routine.”
Our thoughts go out to Kevin and the Hayes family and cannot wait to see him back in action in the memory of his brother.