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Hayes says he'll always remember scoring, dedicating goal to late brother

Twitter/@hockeyaddicts via Sportsnet

Kevin Hayes said he'll never forget scoring his first goal of the season Tuesday and dedicating it to his brother Jimmy, who died this past summer.

"I'm happy it happened sooner rather than later, honestly," the Philadelphia Flyers forward said after a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames. "It was a big goal. The trainers got the puck for me. I'm going to give it to Jimmy's son, Beau, and it'll be one I remember forever."

Hayes pointed skyward as a tribute to his brother after tying the game early in the second period.

Flyers forward Cam Atkinson, who later netted the overtime winner, said the whole team understood the significance of Hayes' goal.

"I think you could see it on my face," Atkinson said. "I think everything happens for a reason. I was the first guy to hug him, (I) got the puck for Kev. It's a big goal, not only for our team, obviously, but for (him). Like he said, I think we'll all remember this for a long, long time, and it was special."

Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau, who played with Kevin at Boston College for three seasons, also conveyed how thrilled he was to see his former NCAA teammate score such a meaningful marker.

"Personally, really, really happy for him," Gaudreau said, according to The Associated Press' Aaron Bracy. "He's gone through a lot these past few months. It's hard because he's on the other team and I don't want them to score, but I was happy for him. He deserved it."

Hayes was playing his second contest of the campaign and his first at home in 2021-22 after undergoing two abdominal surgeries in the offseason. His brother Jimmy, a former NHL forward, died at the age of 31 in August.

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