“I lost myself, “ Kevin Stevens said. Stevens, who played left wing on a line with Mario Lemieux during the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992, was injured in the mid-90s and became addicted to opioids during his recovery. For more than two decades following the injury, he suffered in his addiction, eventually being kicked out of the NHL. This is the story he told students at The Winchendon School.
To the students, Stevens said: “It all started with one bad decision.” Just a month and a half before his injury, at the age of twenty-eight, Stevens was offered cocaine at a party. Having no experience with drugs before, he believed that one time would be harmless. “I had a wonderful wife and a family and I played hockey all day every day. That was what I always wanted to do. I had everything going for me, but in ten seconds I made a decision that changed the path of my life.” According to Stevens, that event, coupled with the injury and subsequent recovery in which he was prescribed opioids, resulted in a loss of control.
Fast forward twenty-two years, and, having long since been kicked out of the NHL, found himself in jail for a drug-related offense and was facing an 18-month sentence. It was at this point that he began a process of recovery and reconciliation with his family. He has been sober and talking to hockey players and high schools for three and a half years now.
Like students at the Winchendon School, Stevens says he also had school speakers and adult role models that talked about drug addiction. He says he never believed them; he never believed it would apply to him. He hopes at least one person in our school will make the right decision as a result of his talk.