By CBSBoston.com Staff

ATTLEBORO (CBS) — AJ Quetta is returning to the Bishop Feehan High School varsity hockey team in a new capacity.

Quetta, who suffered a spinal cord injury during a game earlier this year as a member of the team, is joining the Shamrocks as an assistant coach. He graduated from the school last June.

“He is a tremendous individual and his presence in the rink will be a driving force for our boys in their quest for the MIAA Division I State Title,” said the Bishop Feehan High School hockey program in a statement.

His primary responsibilities will be working with the forwards and breaking down practice and game film.

“I’m 10 months into it; I didn’t think I’d be doing anything like this yet. I am back in the game already,” Quetta said. “I never got to say goodbye to the game like a lot of the seniors do. So, I guess I am never going to have to say goodbye.”

Quetta was critically injured when he crashed into the boards during a game on January 26. He had spinal surgery in Atlanta and returned home to continue his recovery at Journey Forward in Canton.

“I think it’s great,” said David Franzosa, Bishop Feehan’s head hockey coach, who put together the coaching team. “When I asked him if he would be willing to be a coach -I said think about it – he took one second. He said, ‘I’m all in coach.'”

The coach said when considering the kind of leadership and example he wanted for his new team he could only think of AJ, who embodies the Feehan philosophy. “Integrity, working hard, giving back to the community,” Franzosa said. “The boys are psyched.”

AJ’s insight on the ice is of course an incredible asset. But it’s his strength of spirit that will serve as an example to these young men long after the hockey season, and high school.

“His life experience just in this last year has been more than some of ours in a lifetime,” said Athletic Director Christian Schatz. “What he can bring to those kids… helping them to become better human beings is really what we’re really excited about.”

“I really want to be a friend, a mentor,” Quetta said.

Ever since the injury, the local community has rallied around Quetta.

A GoFundMe for Quetta has raised over $1 million to help his family pay for his medical expenses.

In mid-May, several local sports stars helped organize the A.J. Quetta Golf Invitational at The Cape Club in Sharon, with all proceeds going directly to the Quetta family. Bruins legend Ray Bourque and Super Bowl champion Teddy Bruschi were among many of the big names at the event.

During last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, Quetta served as the Boston Bruins fan banner captain for Game 1 of their second-round playoff series against the New York Islanders at TD Garden.

He was also named the honorary captain of the 2021 Boston Bruins-MIAA Sportsmanship Award.

CBSBoston.com Staff