After his epic rise and fall, Massachusetts hockey great Kevin Stevens is still a powerful forward

From morning ice skating at Pembroke’s Hobomock Arena to a hockey scholarship to Boston College and the NHL, Kevin Stevens has been on the fast track to hockey greatness. Stevens, a power forward with the Pittsburgh Penguins, was knocked unconscious in a collision and shattered his face as he fell to the ice. The painkillers for the injury became an addiction. “I’ve done a lot of crazy things to try to get better at hockey. “That took it away.” The long decline ended in 2016 with his arrest on federal drug charges. At his sentencing, the judge gave him a chance: stay out of jail if he agrees to use what the judge said was his “unique ability to connect with people in educational endeavors.” In other words, help other addicts. The court-ordered speeches are over, but Stevens hasn’t quit. He still uses his story to help others, and speaks at events such as a recent conclusion in a Charlestown District Court drug court .Stevens is now the face of the non-profit organization Power Forward, a nod to his position as a power forward in the NHL, who now wants to help people to overcome their addiction. In addition to speaking engagements, Power Forward pays for people to have sober homes, a place where they can live after they finish intensive care without having to return to the community where they used their trained comfort dog, who works full-time in to be placed in a sober home in Taunton. “His life has always been goals with hockey, and now the new goals are about helping people, getting sober grants and placing comfort dogs in homes,” Wilson said. They’re even working with the DEA through their community outreach program called Operation Engage and Recover Aspect,” said Asa Morse, special agent for the US Drug Enforcement Administration. The partnership between Power Forward and the DEA started at an ice rink, Morse said. “Kevin happened to be with him at an ice rink of all places. He was dating a police officer who worked in my office. Their kids kept playing the ice together and he said, “Hey, DEA wants to start this community outreach program. Kevin said, “I’m starting a community outreach program,” and that’s how it was born,” Morse said. “The Kevin I first met when I was 20 is an incredible human being, he’s got a great personality, fun-loving and always laughing,” Recchi said. “That big laugh, it’s nice to see that again.” Now, Stevens said, life is a lot easier than it was when he was in the addiction. “Life is pretty today good,” he said. “It’s just living one day at a time and doing what I have to do to make sure I’m okay. I’m not going to help a million people. I don’t even know who I’m going to help, but if you get out there and spread the word, you’re going to help one person.”

From morning ice skating at Pembroke’s Hobomock Arena to a hockey scholarship to Boston College and the NHL, Kevin Stevens has been on his fast track to hockey greatness.

That fast track derailed during a 1993 playoff game. Stevens, a power forward with the Pittsburgh Penguins, was knocked unconscious in a collision and shattered his face as he fell to the ice. The painkillers for the injury became an addiction.

“I’ve done a lot of crazy things to try to get better at hockey. And I never thought, you know, that something could take that away,” Stevens said. “That took it away.”

Kevin Stevens was on two Stanley Cup-winning teams before his injury in 1993.

Kevin Stevens

Kevin Stevens was on two teams that won the Stanley Cup before his injury in 1993.
kevin stevens skates with sportscenter 5's naoko funayama at hobomock arena x20; in pembroke where he played youth hockey.

WCVB

Kevin Stevens runs with SportsCenter 5’s Naoko Funayama at Hobomock Arena in Pembroke where he played youth hockey.

The long decline ended in 2016 with his arrest on federal drug charges. At his sentencing, the judge gave him a chance: stay out of jail if he agrees to use what the judge said was his “unique ability to connect with people in educational endeavors.” In other words, help other addicts.

Kevin Stevens speaking before drug court graduates in Charlestown District Court.

WCVB

Kevin Stevens recently spoke to drug court graduates in Charlestown Circuit Court.

The court-ordered speeches are over, but Stevens hasn’t quit. He still uses his story to help others, speaking at events such as a recent drug court closure in Charlestown District Court.

“Just like you guys made the decision to come here, I made the decision to choose sobriety,” he said.

Stevens is now the face of the nonprofit Power Forward, a play on his position as the NHL’s power forward, which now aims to help people overcome their addictions.

kevin stevens grew up playing hockey at the hobomock arena in pembroke.

Kelly Wilson

Kevin Stevens grew up playing hockey at Hobomock Arena in Pembroke.

In addition to the lectures, Power Forward pays for people to live in sober homes, a place where they can live after intensive care has ended without having to return to the community where they were consumed.

Power Forward is run by Stevens and his sister, Kelli Wilson, a retired biotech executive. Power Forward’s latest endeavor is to pay for a trained comfort dog to be housed full-time in a sober home in Taunton.

kevin stevens speaking at an event introduces sawyer, a comfort dog, x20; who wanted to mock in a sober home.

WCVB

Kevin Stevens speaks at an event introducing Sawyer, a comfort dog who was set to live in a sober home in Taunton.

“His entire life has always been goals with hockey, and now the new goals are about helping people, getting sober living grants and putting comfort dogs in homes,” Wilson said.

They even work with the DEA through their community outreach program called Operation Engage.

The whole theory behind Operation Engage is that it is disingenuous of us as law enforcement officials to work in communities and not also get involved in the public relations, prevention, treatment and recovery aspects,” said Asa Morse, special agent for the US Drug Enforcement Administration .

The partnership between Power Forward and the DEA began in an ice rink, Morse said.

“Kevin happened to be with him in an ice arena of all places. He was dating a police officer who worked out of my office. Their kids were playing on the ice together and he was like, ‘Hey, DEA wants to roll out this community outreach program. Kevin said, ‘I’m starting a community outreach program,’ and that’s where it came from,” Morse said.

Special Agent Asa Morse said the DEA's Operation Engage focuses on prevention, treatment and recovery.

WCVB

Special Agent Asa Morse said the DEA’s Operation Engage is focused on prevention, treatment and recovery.

Stevens’ transformation was uplifting to see, said his good friend and former teammate Mark Recchi.

“The Kevin I first met when I was 20 is an incredible human being, he has a great personality, is fun-loving and always laughing,” Recchi said. “That big laugh, it’s nice to see that again.”

Now, Stevens said, life is a lot easier than it was when he was addicted.

“Life is pretty good today,” he said. “It’s just living one day at a time and doing what I have to do to make sure I’m okay. I’m not going to help a million people. I don’t even know who I’m going to help, but if you get out there and spread the word, you’re going to help one person.”

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