PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — He rose to highest heights in the world of hockey — a big but agile power forward with a deadly wrister who twice hoisted the Stanley Cup over his head.
But when Kevin Stevens turned to drugs, his fall from grace would be just as swift.
“From, like, winning as a first team All-Star to winning Stanley Cups to being in jail because I made that decision,” Stevens said.
At the top his career, Stevens snorted some cocaine for first time one night in a bar in Manhattan. He liked it and a month later, he hurt himself during a game.
The hit fractured his forehead and eye socket, and the opioids he took for the pain turned him into an full-blown addict, who in time would lose his friends, his career and then his wife and family.
“All the things that I loved. All the things that were the top things in my life, it took. Addiction took it. That’s what it does,” Stevens said. “It doesn’t matter if I have $20 million or if I have $10, it’s going to take it all until we stop it.”
It came to stop one night when the FBI came knocking at his motel room outside of Boston. He’d spend six nights in jail for selling a large quantity of Oxycodone, but looking at two years in prison, the federal judge showed mercy and made other plans.
“The judge told me he’s not going to put me in jail, but I’m going to do a lot of work for him, and it’s been the best two years of my life,” Stevens said.
Today, Stevens spend his days encouraging addicts to follow his path of recovery.
From the judge’s initial sentence of addressing three dozen high schools, Stevens has founded the organization Power Forward and has joined Familylinks here in Pittsburgh in offering solutions to addiction.
“My anonymity, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s just that I’m trying to help with anything I can do because it’s crazy. We all know it’s so crazy out, and I’m just lucky I can help,” Stevens said.
No one can take away Stevens’ accomplishments on the ice, but perhaps his even greater legacy will be this battle against addiction, which will be measured not in Stanley Cup victories, but in lives saved.
Stevens will meet with local high school students Wednesday to share his story and warn them about the dangers of drugs.