The hockey community has rallied around North Providence’s A.J. Quetta
By KEVIN McNAMARA
An impressive outpouring of support from the Bishop Feehan and New England hockey community is helping ease the pain of a tragic accident involving a North Providence schoolboy.
Bishop Feehan hockey player A.J. Quetta was transported to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield Tuesday night after crashing headfirst into the boards in a game against Pope Francis Prep at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield.
Within hours of the injury, a GoFundMe campaign was begun by Quetta’s family. His sister, Elyse, wrote that “AJ has gotten into a hockey accident, and might not be able to move his body again. With your donations, we can get him to the best doctors to do everything we can to get him better. We have so much hope! We love you so much AJ.”
The campaign, with heavy support from Bishop Feehan parents and alumni, quickly reverberated around the hockey world. The Boston Bruins sent their best wishes to Quetta on a social media post that read: “We are keeping A.J., his family, and the Bishop Feehan community in our hearts during this very difficult time.”
As of Friday at 11 a.m., the GoFundMe campaign had attracted 8,000 donors who’ve contributed $550,000.
Quetta, who has played in various Rhode Island youth hockey leagues for years, was taken off the ice on a stretcher. The teams resumed play after a break for intermission and after the game ended with a 9-1 win for Pope Francis, players from both teams gathered at center ice in prayer.
Bishop Feehan school president Tim Sullivan told WEEI radio Thursday that Quetta had undergone surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. Feehan and the family issued the following statement late Thursday afternoon.
“The Quetta family would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers and support for our son AJ, who suffered a spinal cord injury while playing for the Bishop Feehan High School hockey team Tuesday night in Springfield. AJ was transported from Baystate Health in Springfield, Mass., to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Wednesday evening. AJ underwent surgery Wednesday night performed by surgeon AJ Pisano.
“The outpouring of support is incredible,” said Anthony Quetta, Sr. “People have been unbelievable and my wife Nicole and I are grateful. We would like to thank the doctors, nurses and first responders for their extraordinary efforts to help our son. We can’t thank everyone enough for all the heartfelt messages of support. At this time, we would appreciate everyone understanding of our family’s privacy. Thank you again for keeping AJ in your prayers.”