Twenty-six years ago this week, the Penguins were supposed to be on their way to a third consecutive Stanley Cup championship. But not only did the Penguins lose in an upset to the New York Islanders, they lost Kevin Stevens to a devastating injury that would change his life forever.
Two years earlier, Stevens was on top of the world. He was 26 years old and hoisting the first ever Stanley Cup for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was young, accomplished, perhaps invincible until that fateful day on the ice in Pittsburgh.
Early in Game 7 against the New York Islanders, Stevens was knocked out cold after a mid-air collision and he fell face-first onto the ice. He had to be taken out on a stretcher, and that’s where his downfall began.
Stevens told us that painkillers may have contributed to a predisposed condition. He said: “That’s kind of where it really took off. From there it was a battle, an everyday thing, all the time."
He was arrested on drug-related chargers twice, in 2000 and 2016. He went through interventions and trips to rehab. Stevens said: “It was pretty bad. Anybody who knows anything about addiction, it’s progressive. It doesn’t stop.”
Now he has a daily commitment to sobriety and has support from family and friends. With that in mind, Stevens is not only back to himself, but giving back to help others fighting addiction.
“I work with a place here called Family Links,” Stevens said. “We partner together and I’m in the front lines of it. I know how bad it is and all we’re trying to do is spread the message of hope.”
Stevens said addiction takes and takes and takes but he fought back and took his life back. He told Channel 11 he’s one of the lucky ones.
“I shouldn’t be here right now. I have 100,000 lives. It’s one of those things, I don’t know sometimes. I wonder why I’m still here and people said God kept me alive for some reason. It’s not for hockey. It’s to help people with the addiction thing because it’s so bad out there. We need to let people know there’s a way out.”
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