ATTLEBORO (TBEN) – From the moment Bishop Feehan and North Attleboro took to the ice, it was obvious this rivalry game would be different from years past. Both teams wore the same warm-up jerseys, honoring Bishop Feehan’s AJ Cuetta.
“It’s important for us to go out there and support him in any way that we know, and that’s how we know how to do it,” North Attleboro coach Ben McManama said.
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The eldest son suffered a spinal cord injury last month in a hockey game against Pope Francis and is now being treated at the Shepard Center in Atlanta. AJ’s mother and two sisters were greeted with hugs and flowers on the ice ahead of Friday’s game.
“They all figured out that, what AJ would do in the situation, and he was like, ‘Go play,'” Bishop Feehan coach Kevin Dunn said.
Early Saturday, a major sign of hope. AJ sent a video to his teammates and supporters.
– Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) February 20, 2021
“I have no words to describe how awesome you are and how much you have supported me. You all give me a reason to keep pushing and keep fighting. It’s awesome. I especially want to thank the boys on the team. I miss them like crazy, ”Quetta said in the video.
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“Seeing this post tonight meant so much to these boys that they really attract to him,” said Betty Anne Barrera.
A GoFundMe page has now raised over $ 900,000 for AJ’s family.
“Seeing all the money that people are raising has been truly phenomenal,” said Christian Schatz, athletic director for Bishop Feehan.
In the end, Bishop Feehan came out on top. For both teams, maybe it wasn’t so much about the score, but the message to AJ.
“We love AJ. We were there to support him. We always wanted to have a good game, a clean game. They brought it too. So overall it was a good game, ”said Charlie Connoly, North Attleboro senior.
“We’re rivals, and we had to win that for AJ because he’s always put 110% in all of those games,” said Jacob Noel, senior at Bishop Feehan.
“Buddy, we did it for you. Everything we did this year was for you and I love you, ”said another AJ teammate.
It was the end of a difficult season that brought together teammates and even rivals.
“They know they’re going to see it again, and we’re all there, not just for this week or for the month, but for the long haul. We will always be behind this family, ”said Rizal Ahmed, Bishop Feehan Parent.
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For the Bishop Feehan elders, it was the last time they would play in a school uniform. And they did it with AJ’s name on the back.