Feb 17, 2013, 12:28 PM EDT
Today is Hockey Day in America, an all-day celebration of the sport throughout the United States. NBC will air nine hours of live coverage across its networks; here at PHT, we’re taking a look at stories of hockey’s impact across the country.
The nightmare scenario for any athlete in a contact sport is that in one instant, from one hit that goes bad, his or her life could change forever.
That worst-case scenario became a reality for Jack Jablonski when the then-16-year-old high school sophomore suffered spinal cord damage during a hockey game on Dec. 30, 2011.
“He dropped and didn’t move,” Jacks’ father, Mike Jablonski, said just days after the incident, according to the Star Tribune. “Right then and there I knew that my son, that there was something seriously wrong.”
Jablonski has faced plenty of adversity and a difficult recovery, but he hasn’t given up, and his determination to skate again has been inspirational to many, including his favorite football player, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
On the same day that the course of Jablonski’s life changed, Peterson was undergoing major knee surgery.
“He’s inspirational — way more significant than my situation,” Peterson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in December.
“To have the condition he’s had and to be able to overcome it, slowly, but overcome it, it takes willpower. It’s the same thing I used, but even more so on a different level. When you look at that, it definitely makes you feel more positive.”
Peterson met Jablonski and told him to stay positive through the bad times. That must help, because that sense of inspiration runs both ways.
“He was telling me to stay in it and said, ‘You never know what could happen and anything is possible,’” Jablonski recalled to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
“I’ve lived by that since then because he’s easily the best running back in the league and worldwide known. I mean, he knows what he’s talking about. He’s dealt with a serious injury. He’s not just making it up.”
So while Peterson bounced back to win the 2012 NFL MVP award, Jablonski has been making progress of his own, regaining some movement and even activating some muscles in his lower body, according to the NHL.com.
Jablonski also hasn’t put the game he loves behind him. He’s serving as a student-assistant coach in for his high school team and has ambitions to becoming a broadcaster or coach.
“Jack has a real good eye for the game. Before the injury, he was a terrific player. Guys who are really good players see things that other people don’t see,” his team’s coach, Ken Pauly said.
“Since his injury, he can just focus on those things like a laser beam. Jack is very much a part of our family and our team. I like valuable and talented people and Jack brings that.”
At the same time, he’s inspired the BEL13VE in Miracles foundation, which is dedicated to advancing the treatment of spinal cord injuries and one day finding a cure. The example he’s set has also helped raise over $50,000 for ABLE program scholarships, which is under the umbrella of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network.
“What Jack has been able to because of this program is amazing,” his mother, Leslie Jablonski said. “2013 is going to be Jack’s year. We all believe it.”
That’s a sentiment her son still shares more than 14 months after the hit.
“I can’t improve if I don’t try,” Jack Jablonski said. “What if something amazing happens today?”
Jun 19, 2013, 12:05 AM EDT
It’s the first NHL game on NBCSN to surpass 4 million viewers.
Jun 18, 2013, 10:50 PM EDT
They beat the Syracuse Crunch in six games.
Jun 18, 2013, 10:23 PM EDT
“It’s going to be a strong, solid franchise just like Winnipeg is now.”
Jun 18, 2013, 9:27 PM EDT
Things are getting dramatic in Philadelphia.
Jun 18, 2013, 8:38 PM EDT
His annual cap hit is a hefty $7,727,273.
Jun 18, 2013, 7:40 PM EDT
Coburn might be heading the other way.
Jun 18, 2013, 7:10 PM EDT
He also loves 2013 NHL Draft prospect Darnell Nurse.
Jun 18, 2013, 6:15 PM EDT
The coach already had him picked as Plan B if Marian Hossa couldn’t play.
Jun 18, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT
Blackhawks coach knows his team has to improve in those areas.
Jun 18, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT
Stemming from his arrest in 2011.
Jun 18, 2013, 4:47 PM EDT
“I’ve got a nice little scratch mark on my forehead from the claw marks.”
Jun 18, 2013, 4:42 PM EDT
23-year-old defenseman had six goals in the playoffs.
Jun 18, 2013, 4:13 PM EDT
26-year-old made his NHL debut last season.
Jun 18, 2013, 3:26 PM EDT
But will they stay?
Jun 18, 2013, 3:18 PM EDT
Could an NHL team one day call it home?
Jun 18, 2013, 3:07 PM EDT
As per TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Jun 18, 2013, 2:49 PM EDT
He’s still “day-to-day” with his injury.
Jun 18, 2013, 2:18 PM EDT
He’s been given permission to seek employment elsewhere.
Jun 18, 2013, 2:16 PM EDT
“We don’t care about calling certain guys superstars on our team,” said the coach.
Jun 18, 2013, 1:38 PM EDT
Hey, he did take two weeks off.
- Report: Flyers will buy out Briere, Bryzgalov another story (Updated) 22
- Report: Flyers, Ducks talking about Bobby Ryan 46
- Marchand accuses ‘kitty cat’ Shaw of eye gouging 78
- Quenneville says Hossa is ‘likely’ to play Game 4 9
- Datsyuk announces three-year, $22.5 million extension with Red Wings 11
- Bruins go ‘above and beyond’ to take 2-1 series lead 47
- Chicago’s powerless power play — it’s a problem 4
- Discuss: Bruins smother ‘Hawks, take 2-1 series lead 92
- Marian Hossa won’t play in Game 3 11
- Report: Flyers, Streit agree to four-year, $21 million deal 39
- Heat rally to beat Spurs in Game 6
- PBT: After blowing lead, can Spurs rebound in Game 7?
- PST: On-fire Altidore lifts USA over Honduras in WCQ
- CSN: Patriots' Hernandez questioned in murder investigation
- CSN: Celtics-Clippers KG, Rivers trade talks dead
- HBT: Mets' Wheeler goes six scoreless in MLB debut
- Lolo Jones' attempt at humor backfires