MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Support for Jack Jablonski is growing. Each new day brings a new face. Now, a former National Hockey League star is calling Jablonski “his inspiration.”
Jeremy Roenick visited Jack at Hennepin County Medical Center Friday. Jablonski, a Benilde St. Margaret’s player, was left paralyzed after a check from behind a couple weeks ago.
Roenick and Jablonski talked about teaming up to teach safety and respecting the sport.
“It was one of the most inspiring days I’ve had in a long time,” said Roenick about his conversation with the “Jabs,” where he encouraged Jablonski not to give up.
“Push one more time. Push one more time. That’s how you separate yourself from everybody else,” he told the young man.
Jablonski told the Star Tribune: “That’s the touching part. All of these people want to help, and it’s crazy what they’ll do to put a smile on my face. I just want to put a smile on their face and know they helped out.”
Jablonski has had a steady stream of visitors to his hospital room to offer encouragement and support. In addition to friends and family visits, several well-known athletes have also stopped by to see Jack.
“We just talked about what he’s going to go through — the mentality. How he has to be positive and think about the things that he does have and not the things he doesn’t have,” said Roenick. “I think between Jack and myself, and a lot of other venues, we can get out the message and the awareness that this is a dangerous sport, and it’s not about who’s the toughest or the strongest. It’s about who has the most fun and stays the safetest.”
Jablonski told the Star Tribune that the support he’s getting is taking his mind off his injuries momentarily.
In a special Fox Sports North video that will air Saturday during Hockey Day Minnesota, Jack’s teammates and coach recall that paralyzing hit. It’ll play during a telethon dedicated to Jack. Money raised will help pay his medical bills.
“His positive energy infected the room,” recalled Executive Producer Jeff Byle, who recalled Jack’s upbeat attitude while shooting the video in a hospital room of NHL hockey jerseys. “You’ll hear Jack’s story through Jack. He explains every bit of the way, from the night of the accident to where he is now. His short-term goal. His long-term goals.”
Byle called the video a powerful piece about a young man with a goal to get better.
Jablonski told the Star Tribune that he has to accept his new normal.
“This is like a calling almost. It’s a mystery, but at the same time, it’s got to mean something,” he said.