Former NHL player Jimmy Hayes is on the thoughts of many around the game with the season beginning.
The journeyman was pronounced dead in the offseason. And it was recently revealed that the journeyman had fentanyl and cocaine in his system when he passed away.
Their is a raging problem in the NHL and the silence among those complicit is deadly. https://t.co/RtzyvkONdf
— Allan Walsh (@walsha) October 17, 2021
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Jimmy Hayes’ dad shared the autopsy report with the public, and he hopes to help other people who struggle with drugs and addiction.
“I’m an addict myself,” Hayes Sr. said via Sportsnet. “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… I know what addiction does. I know about addiction.
“About maybe 16 or 17 months ago, I saw a little change in Jimmy’s behaviour and I went to him and I said ‘I think there might be a problem here with pills.’ He had had an injury for a while and I think he started taking the painkillers and they get you.
“I said, ‘Jim, I think I see a problem here.’ And he’s 31 years old so I can’t tell him to go get help. So I said, ‘when you want help, I’ll be here for you, pal. Let me know.’
“He called me three weeks later and said, ‘Dad, I’m hooked on these pills. I got injured and I started taking them and I never got off.’ And I said, ‘well, let’s get you some help.’ He went to a place up in Haverhill. So he gets help and everything was on the path to recovery I thought. But this (expletive) is so powerful.”
Jimmy Hayes is not the only athlete to get hooked on drugs and alcohol following an injury. And he undoubtedly won’t be the last.
His death was an absolute tragedy that could have been avoided.
Props to Jimmy Hayes’ dad for speaking out.