Ahead of the New Jersey Devils’ season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, both teams paid tribute to Jimmy Hayes, a former player they lost earlier this summer.
The two opponents wore No. 10 and No. 39 jerseys — the numbers Hayes wore for those teams — with his nickname “Broadway” on the nameplate during the warm-up skate.
On our backs tonight, in our hearts forever. pic.twitter.com/BgXMqOhZLc
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) October 15, 2021
The Devils will also be honouring Hayes with a helmet sticker on every player’s helmet, featuring his iconic clover logo.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 15, 2021
Hayes tragically passed away at the age of 31 on Aug. 23, just hours after celebrating his eldest son Beau’s second birthday with family and loved ones. The official cause of death is still unconfirmed. He is survived by his wife Kristen and their two sons, Beau and Mac.
The NHL veteran last played for the Devils during the 2017-18 season and made his debut with the Blackhawks, before playing the majority of his career for the Florida Panthers and his hometown Boston Bruins.
Jimmy’s brother, Kevin Hayes, is a centre for the Philadelphia Flyers and after taking some time to grieve, the 29-year-old reflected on what the tragic death meant to him.
"I lost my best friend and my brother. [Kristen] lost her husband and her father to her kids," Kevin said.
"It's tough, I can accept what happened, that my brother's gone and he died. I'm 29 years old and I understand what death is. The thing that I can't get my head around, the whole, not to get spiritual, but God. Being mad at God. ... I don't understand how those two kids don't have a dad anymore. I can't accept that. I don't think I ever will. But I also look at God sending different messages."
Jimmy Hayes played 334 NHL games across the four different organizations.
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