Sept. 20, 2012
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Providence College men's hockey team welcomed its newest team member, Kevin Rich, to the squad on Thursday afternoon. Joining the Friars through Team IMPACT, Rich is a seven year old from Mansfield, Mass., who has battled Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia since being diagnosed at the age of four.
Kevin, along with his parents Cara and Walter, met his new teammates for the first time on Thursday afternoon at Schneider Arena as part of Kevin's official "draft" onto the team. Friar captains Tim Schaller (Merrimack, N.H.), Kyle Murphy (Fairhaven, N.J.) and Myles Harvey(Orlando, Fla.) presented Kevin with a customized Providence College hockey jersey to welcome him to the team.
"We are really excited to have Kevin join our team," Harvey said. "All the guys already feel we will feed off the strength and drive Kevin's has shown over these last few years."
After being presented with his customized Providence jersey, the players showed Kevin around Schneider Arena and gave him a tour of the locker room where he tried on some equipment and got a quick lesson in the finer points of stick taping.
"Kevin was just so excited to get here and meet the team," his mother, Cara, told to the team. "Yesterday he was pinching himself just to make sure it was real - that he was really becoming a part of the Friars."
When asked what his favorite part of the draft was, Kevin responded, "I don't really know, it has all been so fun."
Throughout the draft process, the players and coaches learned about Kevin's fight with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which is the most common form of leukemia found in children. After his initial diagnosis in September of 2009, Kevin spent two months in the hospital battling a number of different illnesses in addition to the Leukemia, including two bouts of pancreatitis and his vocal cords were paralyzed for four months.
After a two month stay in the hospital, Kevin showed improvement and headed home to begin an out-patient treatment plan, which required regular trips to the clinic for chemotherapy, steroids and antibiotics as well as additional testing. Kevin's treatment has continued to go well and his prognosis is good and now he is focusing on transitioning away from treatment and getting back into his typical routine of school and sports.
Kevin's favorite number is 17 - which freshman Brooks Behling(Pittsburgh, Pa.) will wear for the Friars this season. Kevin's favorite food is shrimp, and he lists movies such as "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," "Star Wars," "Tron," and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy amongst his favorites. His favorite TV show is "Deadliest Catch" and his favorite professional athletes are Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins and Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots.
Team IMPACT is a non-profit organization created to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses. Across the northeast, Team IMPACT creates unparalleled team based support systems. The organization strives to harness the power of teamwork by matching courageous kids with college athletic teams. Children are drafted by local teams and become official members for the duration of their treatment and beyond.
The Friars open the 2012-13 season at home against Sacred Heart at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12.
- FRIARS -