Bishop Feehan High School hockey player A.J. Quetta underwent surgery Wednesday night at Massachusetts General Hospital for injuries sustained when he crashed headfirst into the boards in a game Tuesday in West Springfield.
Tim Sullivan, president of Bishop Feehan High School, said he spoke to Quetta’s parents Thursday morning.
“Doctors report that the surgery went very well,” Sullivan said by e-mail. “But there is still a long road ahead. Those are the updates we have. I believe this will be a long process. We are all hoping and praying for the best.”
In a statement to the Providence Journal and NESN, Quetta’s father thanked the public for the outpouring of support.
“The outpouring of support is incredible,” Anthony Quetta Sr. said in a statement. “People have been unbelievable and my wife Nicole and I are grateful. We would like to thank the doctors, nurses and first responders for their extraordinary efforts to help our son.
“We can’t thank everyone enough for all the heartfelt messages of support. At this time, we would appreciate everyone’s understanding of our family’s privacy. Thank you again for keeping A.J. in your prayers.”
A Mass General spokeswoman said Quetta remained in critical condition.
A senior forward from North Providence, R.I., Quetta had skated into the left corner of the offensive zone, according to a video of the game. As he lined up for a shoulder-to-shoulder check, an opposing player from Pope Francis High School shifted to the left and avoided contact. Quetta hit the boards, his head appearing to absorb the impact.
Quetta was taken from the ice on a stretcher and brought to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. He was later transferred to Mass General.
A GoFundMe.com page has been launched to raise money for Quetta’s treatment and recovery. “AJ has gotten into a hockey accident, and might not be able to move his body again,” the page reads. “With your donations, we can get him to the best doctors to do everything we can to get him better. We have so much hope! We love you so much AJ.”
As of Thursday night , more than $500,000 had been donated.
New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung was among those who contributed to the campaign. Chung posted a photo of Quetta on Instagram and encouraged others to donate.
“This is AJ Quetta. He got into a tragic incident on the ice that will change his life,” Chung wrote. “I couldn’t imagine as a parent having to deal with this. Crushes my heart man. Whatever you can do to help with medical bills etc. $10, $20... $1 is good, anything from all the people that follow me and have some kind of heart. I’ve donated my thousands.”
On Thursday New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft called The Greg Hill Morning Show and said he would match up to $25,000 in donations to the fund.
At a media availability event, Boston Bruins forward Charlie Coyle spoke about the outpouring of support Quetta and his family have received.
“A.J. and his family aren’t alone, by any means,” Coyle said in a video tweeted by Dan Roche of WBZ-TV. “We got so many people behind them, supporting them, helping out as best they can and sending well wishes. We know he’s going to pull through and be great.”
Later Thursday, the Bruins organization announced that the team, and its owners the Jacobs family and the Boston Bruins Foundation “have pledged a minimum donation of $100,000,” to support Quetta.
“Despite these tragic circumstances, it makes my family and the Boston Bruins organization very proud to see such an outpouring of support from the New England hockey community,” Bruins chief executive Charlie Jacobs said in a statement. “A.J. and his family should know that they are not alone in the journey, and that we will be with him the whole way.”
The team will also auction sticks used by Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins players in Thursday’s game and contribute the money to the fund. They will also donate proceeds from future 50/50 raffles, according to the statement.
Left-winger Brad Marchand, pre-game, hung Quetta’s No. 10 jersey behind the Bruins’ bench before the game
Dan Shine, the athletic director and boys’ hockey coach at Arlington Catholic High School, said his school will host a fundraiser for Quetta on Friday and Monday, when students will wear Bishop Feehan’s school colors in his honor.
“We played the Shamrocks twice already this year in boys’ hockey, and A.J. was part of that. We feel like we’re close to them in a lot of ways. Our hearts go out to them during this very difficult time.”
Shine said the way the hockey community is rallying around Quetta is reminiscent of Matt Brown, a Norwood High School hockey player who was paralyzed during a game in 2010 and others who have been seriously injured playing a game they love.
“We all know hockey is a very fast game, and A.J. is not the first player this has happened to, unfortunately,” Shine said. “Hockey players know they can be one shift away from a serious injury... that’s why the hockey community rallies around a situation like this.”
RT @ACHSCougars: On Friday, January 29th and Monday, February 1st, Arlington Catholic High School will be hosting a tag day, encouraging students to wear green and white, to raise Monday for Bishop Feehan’s senior hockey player, AJ Quetta, who suffered s… pic.twitter.com/qvTL8iU6fG— Arlington Catholic High School (@ACHSCougars) January 28, 2021
Craig Larson of the Globe staff contributed to this report.