Red Wings alumni hold game to help teen paralyzed in freak hockey accident

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A Macomb Dakota High School hockey player suffers a life-altering injury on the ice.

But with the support of teammates and people in the community Anthony Mastronardi is determined to walk again. 

It was just another game, as Al Mastronardi watched his son going after a puck in the corner.

"You don't plan for it," Al said. "They hit the boards hard and there was just no time to react."

He shared some of the last pictures on the ice of his 17-year-old son Anthony,  a junior defenseman, a game in December and a play that changed this family’s lives.

"The puck was kind of going slow, just enough for us to get to it," Anthony said. "And we got intertwined and I hit the boards, looked up and I couldn't move."

Two damaged vertebrae left him paralyzed.

"From the neck down, everything was gone," Anthony said.

All his life he's been up for a challenge, this was merely another one.

"In hockey I'd go hard 100 percent of the time, so therapy is the same way," he said. "Never giving up."

Rehab started for Anthony immediately, setting goals to keep motivated.

"Even a wheelchair, just getting used to this one (and) driving it," he said. "Or a manual one using with my hands."

Anthony outfitted that chair with a hockey puck with his number in place of a joystick.
"I've kept my mind on one thing the entire time. That’s get everything back," he said.

Anthony attacked the problem like a person would clock in for a job every single day.

"He goes, 'Let's go Dad, we're going to be late,'" Al said. "He didn't want to be late. He wanted to get everything he could out of that."

"It would usually end at 4 p.m. and you could stay after and I did.  Every day."

The extra work is paying off with Anthony regaining movement in his arms, upper body and neck - but it comes with a cost.

"Additional therapy that he's going to need, modification to the house that need to be done so he can live a normal life and get back to 100 percent of where he needs to be," Al said.

This Sunday, a fundraiser is being held at the Fraser Ice Arena. Red Wing Alumni vs. Anthony's former teammates. All the money raised with go towards Anthony's recovery.

Tickets are $10 CLICK HERE.

The ice arena holds about 4,000 people. So far they've sold about 1,500 tickets, they hope to sell it out by Sunday.