R.I.P. Jimmy Hayes.
The former Boston College star and NHL vet died today at the age of 31.
I've written my fair share of obits on DOL, but I always get anxious while writing or considering writing one because of the weight they hold. They aren't something that I take lightly. I don't want to appear like I'm using someone's death for clout, but I was shocked when I saw the news this afternoon as I first checked Barstool. I debated saying something all day and ultimately decided to pay my respects in blog form.
Despite being a professional athlete, I knew Jimmy Hayes best from his affiliation with Barstool Sports. I couldn't tell you about a single Jimmy Haye's NHL on-ice accomplishment. I had no idea who he was until Pres and Feits started mentioning him. He was one of the first, if not the first, athletes to have a Barstool connection openly. Jimmy was doing Goalie Challenge videos with Pres like six years ago. That's how I knew of him.
I say that paint a picture and not sound disingenuous. I stopped paying legitimate attention to the Bruins and NHL around 2016. I hope they do well, but it doesn't impact me one way or another. I felt next to nothing when the Bruins lost Game 7 in 2019.
What I do feel is incredible sadness for someone so young and close to my age, similarly to when Mac Miller died not so far from this date three years ago. I was by no means a super fan of Mac Miller, but his passing fucked me up because of what it represented. I'm feeling a similar feeling today. I turn 30 in December, and seeing someone so close to my age who seemingly had it all be taken away so suddenly is simply heartbreaking, even more so when he's leaving his own young family behind.
The elephant in the room when someone dies unexpectedly is the speculation of how it happened. Of course, people assume suicide or drugs, but it won't bring them back and does no good for anybody to speculate. What matters is a man is dead. A two-year-old and infant are without a father. His wife is a widow decades before she could've ever imagined. His parents have to bury their son.
From what I've seen, Jimmy was quite the family man. His youngest son was only born in May, and his passing came just hours after celebrating his oldest son's second birthday. Jimmy shared a photo of his son Beau's 2nd birthday on his IG Sunday:
Whether it be a Roy Halladay, Kobe Bryant, or Jimmy Hayes, we (this is me generalizing for the readers) tend to look at athletes as superhuman, that nothing can hurt them, when in reality, we are all just people who can be gone in the blink of an eye. His passing is sadly another example of how precious life is.
Even though we all do it, it is in bad taste to openly speculate about a cause of death (online), especially with this timing. Still, if there is any legitimacy to this accusation, it just makes this tragedy that much more devastating. This is the kind of stuff that can happen to anyone.
I can't speak to Jimmy Hayes as a man or tell you about his character, but I've seen nothing but love and kind words about what a good guy he was. My heart breaks for his family. R.I.P. Jimmy Hayes.