Top 12 Minnesota sports stories of 2012: Jack Jablonski

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 24, 2012 - 12:40 AM

 Jack Jablonski may not be able to play hockey anymore, but he can do so much more.

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Jack Jablonski during a physical therapy session in April 2012 at Sister Kenny in Minneapolis.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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The end of 2012 is quickly approaching; as such, we have compiled a list of the top 12 Minnesota sports stories -- positive or negative -- from the year. We'll be counting them down every weekday from now until Jan. 1, when the top story will run. Here is No. 7:

It was technically 2011 -- Dec. 30, to be exact -- when Benilde-St. Margaret's boys' hockey player Jack Jablonski was injured after being checked from behind in a junior varsity game against Wayzata. But the fallout from the injury, which damaged Jablonski's spinal cord, reverberated throughout 2012.

Supporters flocked to the story, with some of the biggest hockey stars in the world reaching out to offer words of encouragement. Leagues near and far debated tougher penalties for checking from behind. Twitter followers cheered in May when Jablonski tweeted that he had moved his left leg, ankle and finger.

Benilde-St. Margaret's, a talented team riding a wave of emotion, won the Class 2A state hockey championship in March -- with locker room visits from Jablonski along the way.

As the new hockey season approached this year, BSM coach Ken Pauly gave Jablonski a new role: student assistant coach. He also gave this advice to the team leaders: "This is it, guys. I think that's what is the challenge for us, is to continue to just embrace him as the person he is and the teammate that he is."

Jablonski, meanwhile, continues to inspire and amaze with his attitude, preferring not to dwell on the negatives and instead focusing on this, according to a story in the Star Tribune in November: "What if something amazing happens today?"

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