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DENVER (KDVR) — His slap shot may be quick, but Ashton Stephenson of Thornton takes things a little slower these days.

“My hockey family means a lot to me,” said the 19-year-old forward, who scored five goals for Stanley Lake High School last season. “I grew up playing hockey. It’s my life.”

And in an instant, that changed.

On a Friday night in October, Stephenson was involved in a major car crash. His injuries were severe: a torn artery in his leg, multiple fractures in his shin, broken ribs, bruised lungs, a fractured shoulder and a spinal injury. After several surgeries, he lost the ability to walk.

“This changed his life, but he has a major support system,” said Marty Richardson of Dawg Nation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping members of the hockey community. “His hockey career is far from over.”

With help from donations, Dawg Nation and members of the Humboldt Hockey community raised $42,000 for Stephenson.

“It means a lot. After this injury I didn’t think there would be a hockey family for me,” Stephenson said. “With open arms, people have come in to help me. It means a lot and opens up my eyes.”