Forward Jimmy Hayes will wear No. 11 with the Boston Bruins, who acquired him from the Florida Panthers on July 1. To Hayes, the choice represents a lot more than a number on the back of his jersey.
"I chose No. 11 to honor a good friend of mine, Corey Griffin, who passed away last summer," Hayes told the Bruins website Wednesday. "He had been a huge part of my family and his family. We go back to youth hockey days."
Griffin passed away last August at age 27. He was a co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised millions of dollars to combat the disease last summer.
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"He was a huge ambassador of this community as well," said Hayes, who wore No. 12 with the Panthers. "He was very influential in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, honoring Pete Frates. So he's just the type of kid that. … He would walk in with a smile on, brighten up everybody's day.
"Just to be able to wear No. 11, the number he wore in high school and throughout his hockey career, is an honor for me to wear this number."
A native of Dorchester, Mass., who attended Boston College, Hayes, 25, had an NHL career-high 19 goals and 35 points in 72 games with the Panthers in 2014-15.
"I've never worn 11, so it's a special number for me," said Hayes, who signed a three-year contract with the Bruins on Monday. "Our other great friend, Brian Boyle, who plays down in Tampa, [changed his number to] 11, so. … Corey's always with us.
"I'll be able to wear 11 every night. He'll be with me every night, so it's just a huge honor for me to be able to wear it."