The hockey community really is like no other and this week has showed how supportive it is in rallying to help out a member when tragedy hits.
On Tuesday, Bishop Feehan high school senior A.J. Quetta was seriously injured during a game in West Springfield, Mass.
His family confirmed Quetta suffered a spinal cord injury after crashing headfirst into the boards. He underwent surgery on Wednesday at Mass General Hospital and has a long road to recovery from the horrific accident.
Although the surgery was successful, it’s unknown if he’ll be able to move his body again or how many surgeries he will need in the future.
The Boston Bruins showed their support for the Quetta Family almost instantly by sending out a message of well wishes. On Quetta’s GoFundMe page, the Quetta Family thanked everyone for the continued messages of support they are receiving during this difficult time.
That GoFundMe page set up to help for Quetta’s hospital surgeries greatly surpassed it’s intended $10K. Donations currently stand at over $570K and just keeps rising.
It was evident from warm-ups through post-game interviews at the TD Garden last night that Quetta was on the minds of the Bruins and has been on the team’s mind since hearing the news.
Brad Marchand hung Quetta’s #10 jersey on the glass during warm-ups and the team represented the young player on the ice with green and yellow stick tape. Craig Smith also gave the game puck to Quetta, placing it in a stall dedicated last night to the honorary team member.
“We just want to show that we’re thinking about him and we want to support him,” Brad Marchand said. “It’s a very tough thing to see, especially a young kid go through that. I can’t imagine what the family is all going through. We just wanted to let everyone know that we are behind them and we’re there to support them and support his family. That was the message we wanted to send.”
During post-game interviews last night, Chris Wagner started off by speaking about Quetta before answering questions.
“We’re all praying for AJ, way bigger than hockey, such a freak accident.” Chris Wagner said. “Our team’s really thinking about him, his family, anybody affected. Really makes us think how fragile our careers are and life is and we just want to say that we are praying for him.”
I think Wagner’s comments really hit the nail on the head. My family’s worst nightmare was I would get hurt when I played hockey. There’s an inherent risk to anything one does in life. But you don’t expect that doing what you love, like playing a high school sport, would have an outcome like this.
The Jacobs Family and Bruins organization has pledged at least $100K in donations, along with proceeds from next week’s 50/50 raffle to help Quetta and his hospital bills. Providence Bruins owner H. Larue Renfroe will also donate $25K on behalf of his team and the New England Sports Center.
An auction of game/practice-used sticks from Bruins players and a few Penguins players such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin started yesterday to raise funds for Quetta. The auctions end February 4. A day into bidding, the sticks have already raised a combined $23,450.
The Stanley Cup of Chowder staff sends its thoughts and well wishes to Quetta and his family.
If you would like to help, please visit Quetta’s GoFundMe page at the link below: