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Community support pouring in for former Quaker Valley hockey player

DEAN M. BEATTIE
Quaker Valley's Kevin Kenny reacts during a game against South Fayette on Oct. 31, 2011. Kenny suffered a spinal cord injury Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, while playing for the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Vengeance in a game against the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks.

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Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, 9:15 p.m.
 

Despite last playing for the Quaker Valley hockey team two seasons ago, Kevin Kenny is on the minds of every Quakers player, coach and fan.

On Saturday, Kenny suffered a spinal cord injury while playing for the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Vengeance in a game against the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks. The injury happened with 12:10 remaining in the first period when he reportedly crashed into the boards. He had no feeling from the waist down.

“Right now we are all in a state of shock,” Quaker Valley coach Kevin Quinn said. “We are rounding up all of our resources to be there for the Kenny family. A hockey family is very tight knit, so we are doing everything we can to support him and his family.”

According to a press release from the North America 3 Hockey League, Kenny, 20, was in and out of emergency surgery late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

He underwent a second surgery Monday and is being monitored at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital.

“It's really painful to know he's going through this,” said Plum senior Joe Randazzo, a linemate of Kenny's with the Vengeance. “It's something you never ever want to see. He's fighting hard right now. He's got a lot of people that care about him and are supporting him right now.”

The Kevin Kenny Foundation was founded to help Kenny and his family with ongoing medical costs and future day-to-day support.

Donations are being accepted at www.GoFundMe.com/5d9lrk and several fundraisers are being organized. T-shirts ($10) and wristbands ($5) with a 7KennyStrong logo will be sold by mail and at the Vengeance's home ice — BladeRunners in Harmarville — and helmet stickers can be ordered from www.VengeanceHockey.com with a donation of $100.

Also, a spaghetti dinner will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. Nov. 30 at John Paul I Center, 201 Ninth Street, in Pittsburgh. Cost is $10 for adults and $7 for children, and take out is available.

The Cards for Kenny Campaign also has been started, asking youth hockey players to drop cards of support at a “mail box” in the pro shop at BladeRunners or via mail to Cards for Kenny, c/o Renee Heininger, 205 Carriage Court, Pittsburgh, PA 15238.

“It has been a social media whirlwind that has really helped gain support,” foundation founder and president Renee Heininger said. “The Pens have been great making an announcement at the game (Monday night) and the players came over to deliver a jersey before they left for Washington. The Vengeance, all of the teams in the NA3HL and Quaker Valley community have been so supportive.”

Kenny has played for the Vengeance junior team since 2012, scoring 16 goals and adding 29 assists.

Kenny helped the Quaker Valley hockey team win the Class A Penguins Cup and state title in 2011-12 while serving as captain. That season, he scored 18 goals and had 39 assists.

“He is an extremely tough kid who has been through a lot,” Quinn said. “He is in for a tough battle, but if there is one person who can pull through with a window of hope, he is that guy. We are all praying for him.”

Many former teammates and other players across Western Pennsylvania have offered their support on Twitter, using the hashtags, #prayersforKenny and #prayforKevin.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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