Jimmy Hayes meant a lot to a lot of people, and that was evident Monday in Boston.
A funeral service was held for Hayes at St. Ann's Church in the Dorchester neighborhood of Neponset on Monday, seven days after the former Boston Bruins forward was found dead in his Milton, Mass., home at age 31.
A large gathering that included many Dorchester Youth Hockey players lined both sides of a street outside the church. Also present at that gathering was an NHL player: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban.
Subban posted a touching tribute to Hayes on social media from his visit to Boston. He also shared several videos of a "stick tap salute" to Hayes on his Instagram story.
Subban never played with Hayes in the NHL, but in an Instagram post last week, the Canada native wrote that he played youth hockey with Hayes in the Boston area at age six.
"I was fortunate enough to play with with Jimmy at (six) years old and get to know him, his brother (Kevin Hayes) and father Big Kevin and many others in the Boston and Dorchester area through my career," Subban wrote. " ... Sending condolences to big Kevin, Jimmy’s wife, kids and the whole family and community in the dot."
Subban showing up for Hayes' funeral is a classy gesture and a sign of how beloved Hayes was in the hockey community. The Dorchester native starred at Boston College before enjoying a seven-year NHL career that included stops with the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Bruins and Devils.