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Kevin Hayes Fulfills His Late Brother’s Dream; Torts and All-Star Games Don’t Mix

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Kevin Hayes, Philadelphia Flyers
Kevin Hayes (center) celebrates with James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny on Thursday Photo: AP.

Tears swelled in Kevin Hayes’ eyes as he talked about making his first All-Star team Thursday night.

The Philadelphia Flyers’ left winger will play in the Feb. 4 game at FLA Live Arena.

Making it extra special, he said, was that he never expected to make an All-Star team, but that his late brother, Jimmy, a former NHL player, always told him he had the talent to be there one day.

“It’s a cool situation for me because — not to get emotional — but it’s probably the only thing my brother said to me when I started playing hockey and that he wanted me to accomplish,” he said after collecting three points in the Flyers’ 6-2 win Thursday over visiting Arizona.

His voice trailed off.

Sharing experience with his nephew

“I never honestly thought it would happen,” he added, “but it did and it’s cool. I know my family is really excited.” He said Jimmy’s young son, Beau, “will be with me the whole time, so it’ll be an extra-special experience.”

In another interview earlier in the night, the 30-year-old Hayes said: “Ever since my brother was out of the league, his only wish was to have me make the All-Star Game. And literally every year he told me, ‘This is going to be the year.’ ”

Hayes, limited to 48 games because of injuries in 2021-22, has 10 goals and 35 points in 38 games this season.

“The best part is just kind of waking up and going to the rink and feeling healthy,” Hayes said. “Its a major step compared to the last couple years.”

Hayes said the All-Star nod could have gone to “a couple guys in this room.”

Right winger Travis Konecny and goaltender Carter Hart were strong All-Star candidates. The Metropolitan Division will still add two skaters and a goalie, based on the fans’ vote.

Torts not an All-Star fan

While Hayes was elated, Flyers coach John Tortorella was sour when talking about All-Star Games, though we assume he was excited for Hayes.

Tortorella was asked if he was disappointed that Konecny — who is having a carer year and is on a 42-goal pace — didn’t receive an All-Star spot.

“I don’t even worry about that bleep,” he said.  “The whole team, the whole weekend, I don’t even watch it,” he said. “I think it’s turned into a … well, I’ll just leave it at that. I really don’t care.”

Did he think Konecny deserved the honor?

“I really don’t care about All-Star stuff,” he said.

Konecny took the snub in stride, saying he was thrilled for Hayes, who will make his first All-Star appearance.

“It’s awesome. Kevin’s been great in this league for a long time, and done a lot of good things,” said Konecny, who was an All-Star in 2020.  “I mean, he deserves to be there. He’s been carrying a lot of the offense for most of this year. Everyone’s happy for him.”

Konecny, 25, said he wasn’t disappointed at being bypassed.

“Somebody had to be picked, and it was Hayesy,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it. It’s a really great opportunity for him and his family and I’m looking forward to seeing him.”

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