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Uncle Kevin & Beau: Flyers’ Hayes, Nephew Ready for ASG

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Philadelphia Flyers, Kevin Hayes, Beau Hayes, Boston Bruins
Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes shares a moment with his nephew, Beau, last season. Photo: Zack Hill.

Philadelphia Flyers left winger Kevin Hayes had excitement in his voice as he described being a first-time All-Star and the festivities in Sunrise, Fla., this weekend.

The excitement magnified as he talked about sharing the experience with his little buddy, his three-year nephew, Beau.

“He’s going to have a trip of a lifetime,” Hayes said recently. “It’s going to be a blast for him.”

Hayes’ brother, Jimmy, was Beau’s dad. Jimmy Hayes, 31, a former NHL player, died in 2021 with cocaine and fentanyl in his system. Kevin Hayes’ father, Kevin Hayes Sr., told the Boston Globe he hoped spreading Jimmy’s story — he started taking painkillers for an injury and became hooked, he said — “can save someone’s life.”

Kevin Hayes takes every chance he can to stay connected to his young nephew, who turns four in August.

“He’s so addicted to hockey right now,” Hayes said. “He’s super excited, and it’ll be awesome.”

Hayes said “all he cares about is me pointing to the sky” after he scores a goal, a tribute to Jimmy.

He’ll try to score one in Saturday’s 3 p.m. All-Star game (ABC). The skills competition will be held Friday at 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Sleeps in hockey gear

“He wakes up every morning — he falls asleep with his hockey pants on,” Hayes said with a smile. “He shoots and he scores (when playing) and he points to the sky. That’s the reason why I do it.”

Hayes said his nephew, though only three, already loves hockey.

“You ask him about a player and he’ll tell you what team he’s on,” Hayes said. “His favorite player is (Boston’s) Brad Marchand, which is a little downer.”

Not you?

“No. Not yet.”

Hayes admitted he’s a “little nervous he’s going to cry because he wants his mother. My brother’s wife isn’t coming,” and is staying home with her infant son, Mac. “I’m  little nervous he’s going to want to be with his mom, but my mom will be there, and they’re best friends.”

When Beau wakes up in the morning, Hayes said, he watches the Flyers’ highlights from the previous night, and they talk on the phone a lot.

“Do that for me!” Beau tells Uncle Kevin, referring to the forward pointing toward the sky after he scores.

“It’s a little connection that we have,” Hayes said.

New position

Hayes, 30, says it’s been a “different year” for him. A center his whole career, Hayes  has been shifted to left wing. He has endured some benchings from new Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella and is having a career year. Hayes has 15 goals and 45 points in 50 games.

“I signed up here to play center and I’m playing wing,” said Hayes, adding he has no animosity toward Tortorella and he respects the coach’s decision. “I’m trying to learn to the best of my ability to be the best winger I can be.”

He admits he looks at himself as a center, “but right now with the situation he wants me in, he wants me to play wing so that’s what I’m doing. Again, that doesn’t mean I have bad blood with him at all. I don’t. He’s an honest guy. I’ve been in the league long enough where if I have a problem with something, I can ask him about it and he explains himself.”

Added Hayes: “I don’t think I’m a career winger, to be honest.” He laughed. “I don’t think I’m fast enough to be a winger. But I’m working on it.”

Right now, his focus in on spending time with his hockey-crazed, young nephew at the All-Star festivities. Besides playing in the game, Hayes will take part in the skills competition.

“It’s going to be awesome,” he said before heading to South Florida. “It’s going to a great weekend. My whole family is going.”

Hayes, who could play on an All-Star line with South Jersey’s Johnny Gaudreau, his former Boston College teammate, added that teammate Travis Konecny (24 goals, 49 points) was “just as deserving as I was, if not a little bit more.”

Konecny was thrilled Hayes was named an All-Star for the first time in his nine-year career, thrilled he could spend time with his family, especially Beau.

“I’m just so excited for him,” Konecny said.

So is the young boy who sleeps in his hockey pants.

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