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Former NHL player Jimmy Hayes died from fentanyl and cocaine intoxication, M.E. determines

"I hope getting Jimmy’s story out there can save someone’s life," his father said.
Jimmy Hayes of the Boston Bruins looks on during a face-off against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on March 23, 2016, in New York.
Jimmy Hayes of the Boston Bruins looks on during a faceoff against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on March 23, 2016, in New York.Jared Silber / NHLI via Getty Images file

Former NHL journeyman Jimmy Hayes, who won a national championship with Boston College, died with fentanyl and cocaine in his system, authorities said Sunday.

The medical examiner listed his cause of death as "acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine," according to a spokesman for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Hayes, 31, was found dead Aug. 23 at his Milton, Massachusetts, home.

The right-winger played in 334 NHL games over seven seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils. His best season was in Florida in 2014-15, when he recorded 19 goals and 16 assists. His younger brother plays for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Hayes was a member of the 2009-10 Boston College national championship team, contributing a goal and assist in the national semifinal win over Miami and adding an assist in the final against Wisconsin.

"Although we are shocked and heartbroken beyond words, I choose to remember my husband, and the boys' father, through the enormous love and joy that he brought us and so many others," the player's wife, Kristen Hayes, said in a statement on Monday.

"This battle does not define him, and I will still tell my boys every day to be like Jimmy. Jimmy touched so many lives while he was here by living so generously and open heartedly, and I hope his story can continue to make a positive impact, especially for anyone who is struggling with the grips of substance abuse."

Kevin Hayes, 66, told the Boston Globe he approached his son after noticing a change in his behavior. The younger Hayes, who had struggled with painkillers as a player, later revealed he started taking pills again due to an injury and never stopped, according to the newspaper.

"I’m an addict myself," his dad said. "I’m sober a long, long time, but I know how powerful this stuff is. I was in shock when it happened, but then I started putting stuff together in my head."

In statement on Monday, Hayes said: "We love and miss our son and brother very much. Know that we truly appreciate the outpouring of love we have received."