Tevlin: Hockey draft day was bittersweet for Jack Jablonski

  • Article by: JON TEVLIN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 6, 2014 - 8:27 AM
hide

Jablonski found an outlet for his hockey knowledge and ­passion by hosting an afternoon show on Sports Radio 105.

The first Minnesota hockey player to be drafted by the National Hockey League last week was Ryan Collins, who went to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round, the 47th pick overall.

Then came Jack Dougherty, at number 54, and Jack Glover at pick number 69. Keegan Iverson went to the New York Rangers in the third round. Miguel Fidler was drafted in the fifth round by the Florida Panthers. By the end of the draft, 15 Minnesotans had been chosen and took another step closer to their dreams.

On Wednesday afternoon, one of their biggest fans, Jack Jablonski, sat in his wheelchair outside Courage Center in Golden Valley and talked about his joy in seeing his friends get drafted.

“I was following it all day,” said Jablonski. “I played with all those guys. Four of them are pretty much my best friends. It was definitely a fun day. It was nice to see my friends get rewarded for all their hard work, and because they have been so supportive of me. It’s great to see them take the next step.”

It was a gorgeous day. The sun was shining and Jablonski was in good spirits. He had just finished a physical therapy session and his personal assistant would soon whisk him off to more appointments and then to his afternoon radio gig on Sports Radio 105, the Ticket.

Though his best friends are now pros, Jablonski is probably more well known than any of them, ever since he was paralyzed from the chest down after a hit during a junior varsity hockey game on Dec. 30, 2011. Since then, his spirit and poise have captivated the state, motivated those struggling with disabilities and made him fast friends with hockey legends.

Jablonski was a star player, too, and no doubt would have been among those drafted if he hadn’t been injured. It’s something he’s been well aware of since the beginning.

“It was definitely bittersweet,” Jablonski said of draft day. “Once I was inspired to try to make it to the NHL. To see yourself not being able to be in that situation, well, it was hard.”

“It was a tough day,” said Jack’s dad, Mike Jablonski. “But he’s really happy for them. Some of them go back to grade school.”

Iverson has flown in to see Jack from Portland, Ore., and his junior team, the Portland Winterhawks of the Canadian Hockey League, have provided donations for health care because of Iverson’s friendship with Jack.

Jack’s mother, Leslie, wrote about her feelings on Caring Bridge following the draft:

“It was one of those times when you have a lump in your throat, yet you’re so happy for Jack’s friends,” she wrote. “It was a reality check for us. We initially cried as we watch his hockey dreams come to a crushing halt. But the overwhelming support, amazing opportunities, and incredible people that have penetrated our lives made it all OK.

“But those initial feelings seemed to creep back into my mind and heart this weekend,” she wrote. “As the names of the latest draftees were running across the TV, I looked out the bedroom window and saw Jack sitting on the deck in his power chair, soaking up the sun and gazing into the distance. Reality hit me hard.”

More than two years after the injury, there are still ups and downs. But sitting outside Courage Center, Jablonski noted other clients coming and going, many in worse shape, all of them striving to live full lives. And he focused on the success of his friends. He’s called several to congratulate them since the draft.

Next winter, Jablonski plans to head off to the University of Southern California to take on his next challenge.

“I’m going to be rooting for [my friends] from Day One,” Jablonski said. “With all the help they’ve given me, they really deserve this. I’m thankful for their success and I’m thankful for them.”

Jablonski laughed, then cracked, “I hope they don’t forget me now that they are big shots.”

 

  • related content

  • Dougherty sees Nashville selection as 'dream come true'

    Saturday July 5, 2014

    Jack Dougherty, who played youth hockey in Cottage Grove, was drafted by Nashville.

  • Jack Jablonski and his Benilde-St. Margaret’s teammates were exuberant after they won the section title to advance to the state tournament in 2012. The Red Knights, with No. 13 watching from the stands, went on to win the boys’ state crown that year.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: S. Downs 2
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 13
Los Angeles - LP: J. Wright 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 3
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: Y. Herrera 2
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 4th Qtr 0:19
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 4th Qtr 2:45
Hawaii 16
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Portland 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close