Dot NHLer Hayes opens up about his family’s battle with cancer

Kevin Hayes with his father, Kevin, mother, Shelagh, and niece Neila. Hayes family photo

In a blog post published recently on the official Madison Square Garden website, current New York Ranger and Dorchester native Kevin Hayes relates the story of his parents’ battle to overcome cancer.

The post, which came in anticipation of the Nov. 30 Hockey Fights Cancer Night at Madison Square Garden, explained how the Dorchester community supported the Hayes family and rallied around them as they braved cancer treatment. 

“Tonight, I will be thinking of their support, and how, really, we can all hold one another up in continuing our shared battle against a disease that touches nearly every family at one point or another,” Hayes wrote.

Hayes’ mother was diagnosed with colon cancer when he was in middle school. Later, as a sophomore at Boston College, Hayes learned his father had been diagnosed with throat cancer. 

“Twice my family faced cancer, and twice we got through it,” Hayes writes.

“I am grateful now to have a platform to inspire others every chance I get — sharing my experience with children and others dealing with cancer.

Tonight, as part of the NHL’s league-wide efforts to raise money and awareness, my teammates and I will skate onto The Garden ice during warmups wearing lavender jerseys, our sticks taped in lavender, and using special pucks. We will sign all the items, which will be available on an online auction. They will also go on sale at MSG Team stores to benefit the battle against cancer.”

Kevin and his brother Jimmy grew up on Westglow St. in Dorchester and both went on to careers in the NHL after starring for Dorchester Youth Hockey and Boston College teams.