Thursday night was a night to remember. Just seven months ago, Minnesota high school hockey player Jack Jablonski was told he would never walk again. That's because in December, Jablonski was playing in a game when he was checked head first into the boards. He suffered a serious spinal cord injury and broke two vertebrae, causing paralysis. Since that day, Jablonski has made incredible strides all while keeping a positive attitude and “believe” mentality.
Last night more than thirty current and former NHL players attended the "BEL13VE in Miracles Gala" at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota. The Gala was organized by parents of Benilde-St. Margaret's where Jablonski attended school. The evening started with a silent auction followed by a dinner and ceremony staged on the ice at Xcel.
Sharks assistant coach Jim Johnson, a Minnesota native, drove two and a half hours to attend the event.
“His injury is heart-wrenching,” said Johnson, “and it tugs at your heart as a parent. It’s hard to see a young athlete go through something like this.”
Johnson said the event brought a wide range of emotions from tears to laughter as the hockey community joined together to raise money for the Jack Jablonski Fund.
Johnson had the opportunity to speak with Jack and like most who meet Jack, he praised his spirit and courage. “Jack is one of the most uplifting gentlemen I have ever met. Like any athlete would, he takes this injury straight on,” said Johnson.
When he first got injured, doctors told him that he wouldn’t be able to use his arms. Now with the help of the MN Courage Center's ABLE therapy program and his "believe" mentality Jack has proven doctors wrong. Making incredible strides over the past several months, he can now move his arms and touch his face, proving that miracles can happen.
Johnson also noted how incredible the hockey world is. “It’s amazing to see how strong the hockey community is and the outpouring of support for Jack. People from all aspects of the game were there, including GM Lou Nanne, old-time players, current NHLers, youth players, parents, and fans. When we first found out about the injury, I was coaching with the Capitals and we sent over a signed Ovechkin stick and jersey,” said Johnson.
Back in January when the Sharks played the Wild, Logan Couture, Jamie McGinn, Joe Pavelski and Ryane Clowe visited Jablonski in the hospital to bring him a team-autographed jersey. “There wasn’t one NHL team that wasn’t represented in his hospital room,” said Johnson. “It speaks volume about the character of the NHL.”
According to MyFox9, a local Minnesota television station, over $120,000 was raised from ticket sales and a silent auction for the event.
Go to www.jabby13.com
to learn more about Jack Jablonksi.