Mars, SV help paralyzed foe
Eagle Staff Writer
Written by:
January 15, 2014

Charity should reach far beyond school colors.

Many teams in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League have made sure that it does.

Kevin Kenny, a 2012 graduate of Quaker Valley High School, sustained a spinal cord injury while playing for the Pittsburgh Vengeance, a Junior A team, in mid-November. The injury left Kenny paralyzed from the waist down.

He has been in rehabilitation at UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh since then and is expected to be released within the next week.

A ranch-style house in Sewickley has been donated to the Kenny family. They will live there until their home is properly equipped to accommodate Kevin’s condition.

Mars and Seneca Valley are just two of the teams helping to raise money for the Kevin Kenny Fund.

“The money will go toward anything that Kevin may need, from his hospital bills to medication to the renovation of his home,” said Renee Heininger, the founder and president of the Kevin Kenny Fund. “So far, we have raised $80,000 through sales and donations at game sites, along with a spaghetti dinner and pancake breakfast.

“We have received a huge outreach from so many teams in the area.”

At Mars’ games, wristbands and T-shirts with the “7 Kenny Strong” slogan have been sold to add to the fund’s total.

“When we played Quaker Valley (Nov. 26 at Warrendale BladeRunners), which is the school Kevin played for, we had a jar at the table outside the rink, and people were dropping donations there,” said Maria Makozy, president of Mars Hockey. “It seems that everybody involved in hockey in Western Pennsylvania wants to chip in and help out.”

All four Seneca Valley teams — the middle school, two junior varsity teams and varsity squad — are all sporting a No. 7 helmet sticker in honor of Kenny.

“We are also giving our take from the 50/50 drawings at games to the fund,” said Jeff Mattys, the president of the Seneca Valley Hockey Association.

Kenny has been on the mind of many people, including former competition.

“You always had to account for him when he was on the ice,” said Mars senior forward Craig Mazzotta, who skated against Kenny in the 2012 Penguins Cup Class A final. “When something like this happens to a player you played against, it makes it very real.”

Despite the fact that hockey is a physical sport, injuries like the one sustained by Kenny are very rarely seen.

“Based on what I was told, it was just a normal check into the boards,” said Mattys. “Hockey is a very fast-paced game, but this was just a freak accident.”

“I’ve always known the risks of playing,” said Mazzotta, “but I just don’t think about it when I step on the ice.”

Heininger is pleased with the support Kenny has received.

“When we started this, we didn’t have any idea what kind of response we would get,” she said, “but it’s been amazing.”

Donations can be made to the Kevin Kenny Fund, 205 Carriage Court, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15238.