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Hayes brothers raise money for ALS research

by Matt Kalman /

BOSTON -- Brothers Jimmy and Kevin Hayes got their first chance in a while to be teammates and used it to help raise money for a charity close to the heart of their alma mater Friday.

Jimmy Hayes, who was recently traded from the Florida Panthers to the Boston Bruins, and Kevin Hayes, who was a rookie with the New York Rangers last season, were part of a Boston College alumni team that played a group of Boston University alums in the Comm Ave. Classic at Walter Brown Arena.

The first edition of the game drew more than 5,000 people to the BU campus and raised more than $55,000 for Compassionate Care ALS.

Because the BU team was a little shorthanded, Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque skated on a team that included Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle and former NHL players Tom Poti, Shawn McEachern and Scott Young.

The BC team was highlighted by Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau, New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider and Hall of Fame defenseman Brian Leetch.

The Hayes brothers, who are from nearby Dorchester, Mass., overlapped for one season at BC (2010-11).

"It's awesome," Jimmy Hayes said of getting to skate with his brother and other former teammates. "We have a bunch of guys that were on that team together. So it's really cool to be able to reunite and have some talented players like we do. And us all being local boys, it's cool and it makes it a lot more fun."

Kevin Hayes said, "Yeah, I mean the last time we played together was my freshman year. It's cool. Pat [Mullane] did an unbelievable job with this, him and Andrew Orpik. Just to get back with the guys. It's a big rival when they're at school, but it's a great cause and I thought it was a great event. Everyone had a blast."

Mullane and Orpik, BC alums, were inspired to organize the game by recent effects ALS has had in the B.C. community. Longtime sports information director Dick Kelley passed away from the disease in 2014, and former BC baseball player Pete Frates was diagnosed in March 2012. Frates has become world famous for his work raising awareness of ALS and he's raised more than $100 million for the cause through the Ice Bucket Challenge and other endeavors.

Frates was on hand for a pregame ceremony along with his family and Kelley's family.

"It's such a great hockey city. People are always starved for great hockey. Especially the BC-BU rivalry, there's a lot of alumni and people in the area that have strong ties to both programs," said Schneider, who's from Marblehead, Mass. "It was great to see the support, and I think everyone knows the reason we were here. And I think that's even a bigger draw is to get everyone out to help raise awareness for ALS and two tremendous people that I knew and know, in Dick Kelley and Pete Frates. It's really special that this many people turned out."

Prior to BU's 7-5 victory, players from each team were introduced. In a rarity for the BU campus, BC's Jimmy Hayes might have received the biggest ovation.

"That's pretty funny," Jimmy Hayes said. "I think 'Johnny Hockey' (Gaudreau), he might've got the most. He's a heck of a player. So it's pretty fun."

The July 1 trade that made Jimmy Hayes a member of the Bruins increased his popularity around town and started a whirlwind week. The Bruins have been flaunting their new native son, along with free agent signee Matt Beleskey, around Boston. Hayes and Beleskey participated in a youth street hockey clinic and were part of the pregame ceremonies at a Boston Red Sox game in addition to other appearances over the course of the week.

The elder Hayes' notoriety is rising, but he's not feeling overwhelmed.

"No, it's been fine. You've got to expect as the hometown kid coming back, there's been a lot of stuff going on," he said. "It's exciting though. The buzz for hockey in this city is amazing."

In the weeks ahead, Jimmy Hayes expects to consult with people about how to handle the challenges of playing for the Bruins as a native from the area.

"I've had a lot of guys who are local that have reached out and asked to have some lunch and discuss what's going on, how to handle playing in the city," he said. "You're going to have to manage it, but it's going to be fun. I said the other day, I played more games in this city than anywhere else. So I look at it that way."

Kevin Hayes recalled that when he was a free agent last summer, the Bruins were in his final five. He chose the Rangers, a decision he said he couldn't be happier about after he had 17 goals in 79 games and helped New York reach the Eastern Conference Final.

The Hayes brothers played against each other a handful of times last season. This season, those head-to-head battles will have a little more animosity to them.

"It's Boston-New York. I mean, I think we play the day after Thanksgiving. It's pretty cool," Kevin Hayes said of the matinee that will take place Nov. 27 at TD Garden.

Part of playing back home with the Bruins for Jimmy Hayes will be the ability to give back to community. He'll undoubtedly to do more for the fight against ALS. His close friend, Corey Griffin, another BC alum who was a major fundraiser for ALS charities, passed away last year, and Jimmy plans to wear No. 11 with the Bruins in Griffin's honor.

"We're well aware of what's going on and it's a pleasure for us to be able to come out and play a game like that," Jimmy Hayes said. "Hopefully we can continue this for many years to come."

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