Hayes started officiating in the NHL in 1946. He was the first official to work 1,000 games. He was also a part of a European tour with the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins in 1959. In 1965, he refused to take an eye exam that then NHL President Clarence Campbell wanted all officials to take. He would never officiate another NHL game after that.
He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 for his officating.