ATTLEBORO (CBS) – From the moment Bishop Feehan and North Attleboro took the ice, it was obvious this rivalry game would be different than years past. The two teams were wearing the same warmup jerseys, honoring Bishop Feehan’s AJ Cuetta.
“It’s important for us to go out there and support him in any way we know how to, and this is how we know how to do it,” said North Attleboro coach Ben McManama.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
The senior suffered a spinal cord injury last month during a hockey game against Pope Francis and is now receiving treatment at the Shepard Center in Atlanta. AJ’s mom and two sisters were greeted with hugs and flowers on the ice before the game on Friday.
“They all came to the understanding that, what would AJ do in the situation, and he’d say, ‘Go play,'” Bishop Feehan coach Kevin Dunn said.
Early on Saturday, a major sign of hope. AJ sent a video to his teammates and supporters.
— Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) February 20, 2021
“I don’t have words to describe how awesome you people are and how supportive you’ve been for me. You all give me a reason to keep pushing and keep fighting. It’s awesome. I’d like to thank the boys from the team, especially. I miss them like crazy,” Quetta said in the video.
“Seeing that message tonight meant so much to these boys they’re really pulling for him,” said Betty Anne Barrera.READ MORE: Spurs Best Celtics 96-88 Despite Blowing 24-Point Lead
A GoFundMe page has now raised more than $900,000 for AJ’s family.
“Seeing all the money that people are raising has been really phenomenal,” Bishop Feehan Athletic Director Christian Schatz.
In the end, Bishop Feehan came out top. For both teams, maybe it was not so much about the score, but the message to AJ.
“We love AJ. We were there to support him. We still wanted to have a great game, a clean game. They brought it too. So overall, it was a good game,” said North Attleboro Senior Charlie Connoly.
“We’re rivals, and we had to win this for AJ, because he always put 110% in all these games,” said Bishop Feehan senior Jacob Noel.
“Buddy, we did it for you. Everything we did this year was for you, and I love ya,” said another one of AJ’s teammates.
It was an end to a difficult season that has brought teammates and even rivals closer together.
“They know they’re going to see him back, and we’re all in it, not just for this week or the month, but for the long-haul. We’re gonna be behind that family forever,’ said Rizal Ahmed, Bishop Feehan Parent.MORE NEWS: Moderna Seeks To Develop Variant-Specific Boosters For COVID-19 Mutations Like Omicron
For the Bishop Feehan seniors, it was the last time they will play in a school uniform. And they did it with AJ’s name on their backs.