It’s been a couple days since the tragic passing of former Boston Bruins forward Jimmy Hayes, and the tributes keep poring in for the amiable, talented hockey player out of Dorchester. Former Hayes teammates Torey Krug and Tuukka Rask were on the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund telethon on Wednesday and spoke lovingly of a guy they played with for two seasons from 2015-2017 and kept in touch with afterward while remaining around Boston.
The bottom line with Jimmy Hayes: As talented as the 6-foot-5 power forward was on the ice while scoring 109 points in 334 games and winning a national title with Boston College, most everybody will remember the 31-year-old for his funny, warm and playful personality off the ice.
“Jimmy was just a special guy. Literally every single room he walked into he lit it up with a smile, a joke and lots of laughs. It’s hard to put into words what he meant to not only his teammates, but his family. He has such a strong family that it’s tough to see it happen,” said Krug, on the Greg Hill Show on WEEI on Wednesday morning. “You don’t hear people talk about the championships and all the goals he scored over the years, and he won championships at Boston College, but you hear people talk about his character, how much fun he was to be around and that smile. It’s been a tough few days.”
“He was so excited to wear the Boston Bruins sweater. We knew what it meant for him to wear the sweater and what a dream come true it was for him to play in front of all his friends and family. I remember doing multiple hospital visits with Jim. It was so easy to go in there with him because one of his God-given abilities was to light up a room and make everybody laugh. No matter what they were going through, it was easy to go into a room like that with Jim.”
Rask touched a similar tone when talking about Hayes, and how he put everybody at ease around him no matter where he went.
“He was great. Everywhere he went he just brought smiles to people’s faces because was so outgoing and nice. The biggest thing that stands out is that we always have a good time with him,” said Rask on the Greg Hill Show. “Everybody felt like they were at home around him. It was very sad news. It just goes to show that you can’t take anything for granted in life because it can be gone in a second.”
Wise words from Rask about embracing life, appreciating the small things and not sweating issues that really aren’t all that important after being reminded how delicate and precious that life can be. The tragic, stunning passing of Jimmy Hayes was a reminder of that to his former Boston Bruins teammates, and to everybody that had come into contact with the affable Hayes in the past.