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Kevin Hayes wins Flyers’ Gene Hart Memorial Award

Kevin Hayes is taking home some hardware.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Los Angeles Kings Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Just over a year ago, the Philadelphia Flyers landed forward Kevin Hayes in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets. But after signing a seven-year, $50 million contract last summer, fans were unsure if the decision to sign the Boston-born forward to such a lengthy contract would be worth it in the long run.

As of right now, though, Hayes has turned out to not only be a fan favorite, but one of the most important players in the Flyers dressing room.

The Flyers announced Monday that Hayes has been named the recipient of the 2019-20 Gene Hart Memorial Award, which is given “to the player who demonstrates the most ‘heart’ during the course of the season.” With Hayes receiving the Gene Hart Memorial Award, this ends Sean Couturier’s two-year reign as the winner of the award.

Hayes’ 2019-20 campaign turned out to be one of his best single-season performances to date. In 69 games, the 28-year-old collected 23 goals and 41 total points — just eight shy of his career-high 49 set during the 2016-17 season. Of his 23 goals on the season, four of which came while shorthanded — the most shorthanded goals scored by a Flyers skater since Meat Matt Read netted four during the 2013-14 season.

As valuable as Hayes was on the ice, it was his off-ice personality that made him such an immediate success with the Flyers. From the ridiculous nicknames he created for his teammates to his criticisms of the officiating in just about every game, Hayes wound up becoming one of the more colorful Flyers personalities in recent years. His unique persona also led to him being voted the funniest player in the NHL, as voted by the fans, and now he even has a beer at Yards Brewing Company named after him.

Say what you will about his contract, but Hayes has turned out to be an excellent addition to the Flyers. Here’s to six more years of shorties and chirping the referees.

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